Keystone XL: No Good Choices

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    Thank you for following this. I think, given the current “Obama-derangement” climate, and the passage of so much time dawdling, that there are no great choices here. It’s a mess.

    America isn’t about to give up its addiction to cheap fuel, and American corporations aren’t about to shoulder their share of the “costs.”  It’s not enough that they can pollute with impunity.  They want to give the energy producers MY tax dollars in write-offs, so they’ll be spared not just the initial, at the meter, costs, but also the costs of exploration and drilling.  Where will that money be made up?  Out of MY pocket.  

    If we consider that operatives from both parties are, one way or another, “on the take–and both West Virginia and North Carolina are avatars of this–then there’s plenty of blame and shame to go around. At least the Democrats can claim to be trying to look at it from all sides.

    Republicans?  Not so much.

    I’m not an energy production expert, but I am an expert in how the costs of energy eat into my personal budget,how much I actually LIKE having constant power, and how there are tradeoffs, no matter what course we take. I happen to enjoy being able to breathe the air, and drink the water.  This would be an apparently “optional pleasure” now being denied to large swathes of West Virginia and North Carolina.

    Full disclosure:  I do what little an individual can to “conserve” on energy.  I dial down the thermostat in winter, and up in summer.  I drive a Corolla, but live in a smallish town and now that I’m retired, as long as it’s not sleeting, I generally can walk to the stores.  I use mostly fluorescent bulbs (and incidentally, I have come to suspect that the costs of getting rid of these things when they go bad probably outweighs the energy savings).  I insulated the house.  I recycle newspapers as well as plastics, cans and glass.

    What I do know is that my–and an awful lot of people just like me–actions aren’t worth a can of spit against America’s addiction to cheap energy, and business’ willing not just to waste, but to fob the costs of their wastrel behavior off on the consumers.  Duke Energy, owner of the coal ash pits managed to get it’s vice president (presumably in charge of creating pollution) elected as Governor of North Carolina.  They’re powerful. I’ve read, possibly on this blog, that Virginia is similarly “owned” by big energy.

    So for now, the best we can hope for is the least awful, destructive choice.  I wish I knew what that was.  I know a lot of people are cheering because some of the residents of Nebraska have managed, at least temporarily, to “stop that thing” but the rest of it is apparently a “go.”  Which means they’ll be trucking the crude between the end of the one line and the beginning of the second.

    I’d call that likely the worst of any imaginable world.  

    • 1. The U.S. needs to press forward as rapidly as possible on becoming more energy efficient.

      2. We should impose a carbon tax, revenue neutral (or better yet, use some of the funds to subsidize low-income people to retrofit their homes, businesses, etc. for energy efficiency and renewable energy, so they end up paying LESS than they were before the carbon tax).

      3. Push all out for a rapid switch to CLEAN energy. Pay for this in part by dropping ALL subsidies, explicit OR implicit to oil, gas and coal (e.g., subsidizing sprawl development, which encourage consumption of fossil fuels).

      If we do those things, and other countries like China and India do those things as well, then Keystone XL – and the horrendous damage done by tar sands development – becomes a non issue.