Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Keystone Abomination: Trump Will Learn It's Easier To Sign Some Exec Actions Than To Carry Them Out

"President Trump will live to regret the actions he's taken today"-
Michael Brune, Executive Director, The Sierra Club.

The misfit and stooge occupying the White House, Donald J.Trump, has naturally neglected the difficult parts of the job of chief executive to do showy, signing photo ops.

After all, it's a lot easier to just put pen to paper in front of clicking cameras to fuck people out of their Medicaid benefits, rights to clean water, or reproductive choice - than to man up and to the heavy lifting needed to get this nation back on track. But for Trump, the consummate showman, it's all about carny barking and show.

No surprise then that Trump also has signed a document clearing the way to government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as well as for another called the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. What he will learn, however, is that millions of citizens are not prepared to just sit by and let those actually manifest - not with a planet that can ill afford any more of that crap coming out of the ground.

Proposed by a Canadian firm (Trans Canada), the Keystone pipeline would carry 800,000 barrels a day from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast. Republicans and some Democrats argued that the project would create jobs and expand energy resources, while environmentalists said it would encourage a form of oil extraction that produces more gases that warm the planet than normal petroleum

As noted in an earlier blog:

Climate scientist Bill McKibben has developed models disclosing mathematical limits showing we have roughly 550 gigatons (gT) left of carbon we can deposit anthropogenically into the atmosphere before earthly Hell is unleashed. That “hell” includes the runaway greenhouse effect, to turn our planet into an endlessly burning pile of ash and refuse. Give a current 30 gT/year deposition rate - and assuming we don't add to it, don't increase its rate - that leaves us roughly 18 years- give or take a fraction, before we end up in a likely runaway greenhouse world. It's a world no one or their offspring would want to inhabit.

McKibben,  as early as 2011, noted the major contributor to push us into this hothouse hell is none other than implementation of the Keystone XL pipeline because of the concentrated carbon it will unleash over years. To remind readers, this pipeline will deliver tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Gulf Coast refineries for export to an international market. The pipeline would have an initial capacity of 830,000 barrels per day and would leave a carbon footprint equivalent to building more than seven new coal-fired plants. By the time it reaches full capacity the enhanced carbon deposition will be nearly 3 gT/yr. In other words accelerating the timeline to reach the 550 gT maximum carbon load the planet can bear.

Despite misleading claims of “benefits” by TransCanada, the downsides of this ill-conceived project remain the same and include:

1)  Building a future of dirty energy,  hastening our pace toward an uninhabitable world. The fact is the Keystone XL is a massively detrimental dirty energy project that would open a major export artery for toxic tar sands oil across the U.S. for at least 50 years. In that interval, massive spills and contamination of our water supply (already threatened by fracking) will accelerate cancers and other endemic health problems.

2)  It’s an unnecessary risk. The U.S. itself doesn’t need this crap oil especially since we’ve reduced our oil consumption by nearly two billion barrels per day over the past five years. This stat will continue to improve with the growing number of electric and hybrid cars.

3) Water pollution: A planned Keystone XL pipeline would pass through Nebraska’s Sandhills region, endangering the Ogallala Aquifer, which forms the drinking water for millions as well the water source for one third of American agriculture. In other words, a massive tar sands oil spill could pollute not only the water but crops used for food consumption. During the tar sands oil extraction process, vast amounts of water are needed to separate the extracted product, bitumen, from sand, silt, and clay. It takes three barrels of water to extract each single barrel of oil. At this rate, tar sands operations use roughly 400 million gallons of water a day. Ninety percent of this polluted water is dumped into large human-made pools, known as tailing ponds, after it’s used. These ponds are home to toxic sludge, full of harmful substances like cyanide and ammonia, which has worked its way into neighboring clean water supplies.

4) Higher gas and food prices: TransCanada has admitted one of its goals is to raise oil prices in 12 midwestern U.S. states thereby increasing revenue to the Canadian oil industry by $2b to $4b. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers, who’ve already spent $12.4 b on fuel (in 2009) could see expenses rise to $15b  if the pipeline goes through,  a cost which will surely be passed on to Americans as higher food prices.

5) Increased respiratory disease and cancer: The pollutants released by mining and refining tar sands will incept acid rain, smog and haze as well as other effects associated with lung disease and cancer. The solid or semi-solid waste, embedded in the toxic sludge, will unleash astronomic rates of kidney, breast, colon, pancreatic and liver cancers by the ingestion of the water soiled by the tailing ponds.

6) Climate disaster: Any future tar sands development – say via Keystone XL- will mean “game over” for the planet according to NASA climate scientist James Hanson. I already noted earlier how much extra load of carbon will be added and how it impinges the 550 gT critical threshold.

All of this ought to inspire furious opposition, the same sort as transpired when  Obama had contemplated bringing it forth. The same goes for the Dakota Access pipeline which threatens the water sources on Indian lands and has seen thousands - even Army vets- motivated to protest. That is bound to occur again, as the battle lines have formed thanks to Trump's stodgy, stumpy fingers signing these criminal orders.

Trump has also signed an order that begins to unravel Mr. Obama’s  (ACA) health care program, reversed his policies on abortion and housing and ordered a freeze of any pending regulations left behind by the outgoing administration.  The cumulative effect of these barbaric signings is not difficult to parse and will include: increased cancers from lowered clean water testing and protections, increased incidence of all forms of cancer as well as water-borne diseases like cryptosporidium, much greater medical  burden thereby imposed on citizens who will now face these diseases without medical insurance. This on top of increased frequency of abortions due to less access to birth control.  His climate depredations including signing approval for Keystone XL, will lead to a world no human will be able to inhabit within very few years.

Does Trump give a damn? Nope, only about his poll ratings or whether he really won the popular vote. His ego rules all and he cares not a whit about millions becoming ill or pregnant when they can't afford the costs. As long as he does the bidding of knaves and fools that's all that matters. This is Trump World, and welcome to it.

The Trump team, to promote these pipelines, is pushing the "new jobs" bunkum on the dumb Trumpies who believed the Donald was their deliverance. But not so fast. A 2014 State Dept. review of Keystone showed that nearly all the projected jobs (maximum 42,100 or barely enough to satisfy the needs of a town like Pueblo, CO) nearly all would fill only one position for ONE year. In other words, they'd be gone, as in vamonosed at the end of a year. Big deal, all temp jobs! A grand total of 35 permanent employees would be needed once  the pipeline commences service. This is about half the staff needed for your average mid-level department store. Yeah, the pay will be much better, but the health costs will also be a lot higher - and one wonders if that pay will cover all the pancreatic and liver cancers when they appear. Especially for people who will no longer have the ACA to lean on.

The hype that costs will go down is also bullshit. A study out of Cornell, cited by Hayes, shows that consumers in the Midwest alone could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel if the Keystone is approved.

And we haven't even covered the calamity that can follow from a massive leak that can lead to widespread water contamination.  For more about this, and what can happen see:

In the wake of a potential rupture leading to a crude spill of this tar sands crap,  this is a clarion call for all out protests. These may even necessitate occupying the locations for pipeline construction to prevent enormous environmental transgressions that will undermine citizen well being. Once that water is contaminated  - as the previous link shows - it will be the devil's own job getting it back to its original potable condition.

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