The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

Archive for the ‘Tar Sands’ Category

tar-sands kill caribou, government kills wolves

leave a comment »

North American wildlife rarely outshines the wolf. Wolves are just, simply, awesome. I don’t know how else to put it. They’ve been on the recovery in the US, removed from protection here and there, are even being hunted in some states. All signs of a successful recovery.

TRC doesn’t have a strong opinion of these hunts (we lean towards: Probably not, but if so they should be highly managed by DNR. And no more prosecution of farmer’s protecting cattle), but we absolutely love wolves, and thus do not like to see stories like this:

Tar-sands development pushes Canada to poison wolves. Yes. It appears that the tar-sands development is causing a decrease in the caribou population. No surprise, since the habitat loss from this project is simply mind-boggling. If fewer caribou are around to prey on, then apparently the solution is to have fewer wolves. How? Poisoning, obviously.

It would seem to TRC that restoring the caribou population, to provide prey for a species makes more sense than killing wolves because we have killed too many caribou. But what do we know. We are not the NWF:

Rather than killing wolves, he should be stopping the habitat destruction and restoring habitat associated with tar sands production. Without healthy habitat, the decline of caribou is inevitable, no matter how wolves are managed.

Just one more self-evident display of why the development of the Canadian tar-sands needs to end.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 7, 2012 at 10:34

The Keystone XL Debate in 1 brief act.

leave a comment »

TransCanada, to the US, regarding the siting and routing of the Keystone XL Pipeline route across the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska: 

TransCanada needs to have the Keystone XL pipeline exactly in the route that has been studied and it cannot move. Sorry Nebraska and Ogallala Aquifer. There is no other possibility. The net economic, geopolitical, and security benefits of imported tar sand oil from Canada outweigh the concerns of Nebraska over a vital water source, and US protests over the dirty, polluting nature of the Alberta Tar Sands project.

The US cannot delay the Keystone XL pipeline. It will have crushing economic effects, and the US must have Keystone XL. Didn’t you hear us talk about the benefits? Getting off of Foreign Oil, and increasing trade relations with your northside neighbors?

We don’t like where this is going, US. Remember, TransCanada does not need the US for the tar sand oil. If the US delays Keystone XL, TransCanada will take its cheap oil to other markets who are desperate for our oil and who will not treat a loyal friend like this. Also, Jobs! Iraq! Oil!

Okay, seriously, US, TransCanada doesn’t need you. Don’t miss your opportunity because the tar sand project does not rely on the United States to purchase this oil. We have so many buyers in Asia. You know Asia? They want it.

We’re not kidding. We are not moving it and we not delaying this pipeline. It is impossible. This route has been studied and it is the safest route there is. The environmental impacts have been studied and forecasted and you have nothing to worry about, trust us, your own government studied the impacts.

It cannot move. We’re serious. A delay only hurts you, not us. Remember those other buyers? They are real; we swear it, they are real. TransCanada is dead set against negotiating another pipeline route. It won’t happen. You need us.

Dead set.

Don’t try it.

You need us.

Don’t even think about it.

It’s not moving.

We’ll move it.

Written by Christopher ZF

November 15, 2011 at 11:24

Posted in Keystone XL, Tar Sands

Obama frustrates everyone, delays Keystone XL

with one comment

Like most folks in the US who follow environment and climate change issues, TRC is quite interested in the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. Last week, the Obama Adminstration decided to study a new route for the pipeline, adding (at least) 18 months to the process. But the fight over Keystone XL is not going away, and the decision made by Obama will have consequences.  For more on that decision, and what it means, TRC recommends this article from Daily Tech, which I think lays out both sides fairly (with a slight bent towards building the pipeline), and decides that, whatever the right move is, Obama alienated everyone and made a poor political judgment in the process.

In short, as with many of his recent actions President Obama finds himself receiving most of the punishment, but little of the praise for actions he set in motion.  In trying to walk the tightrope of pleasing both sides, he has badly slipped — many anti-pipe advocates are reprimanding the President for merely shelving rather than killing the decision, while the pipe’s supporters are attacking the President for shelving the product.

On some decisions, however, I think that if the President upsets everyone, he is probably doing something right, and facing the reality of making tough choices. On KXL, that remains to be seen.

For the record, TRC was asked about the Obama Administration’s decision to reconsider the Keystone XL route, essentially punting on the project until after the election. Specifically, the question was: do you think it’s the wrong route, or that it shouldn’t happen at all? A good question. TRC responded as follows:

I think it is definitely the wrong route. I would prefer it doesn’t happen at all, but that’s unlikely. 
The Ogallala aquifer needs more protection than our current oil or jobs needs. 30%+ of our irrigation water in the US is from that source. Almost everyone who lives in the region, ( its footprint is in 8 states) gets their drinking water from that source. This is environmental policy, and environmental policy should be made on a 100-10,000 year time scale. Which I’m serious about. It’s impossible. But the risks to our aquifers are far more serious than the risks of not getting those jobs. Of course, that’s a losing political argument.
If I had my way, no one would get that oil, and the Tar Sands project would be shut down. It is the dirtiest project that humans have ever endeavored to undertake. It will single-handedly hurry the pace of climate change, especially given its location and the manner in which tar sands oil is captured. But it’s happening now, and it’s terrible. The only real way to stop its impact is to stop its movement. 
The alternatives (to piping the oil to the US) are possibly real, possibly not. I think the project absolutely needs to pump across the US. There are other ways to move it, to Asia for example, but not in quantities necessary. If the US doesn’t build a pipeline, the whole project really is in jeopardy.

Written by Christopher ZF

November 14, 2011 at 11:47