Home Energy and Environment Tim Kaine Nails It on the Keystone Dirty Tar Sands Boondoggle; Mark...

Tim Kaine Nails It on the Keystone Dirty Tar Sands Boondoggle; Mark Warner Totally Out to Lunch


At least one of Virginia’s U.S. Senators gets it on the Keystone XL dirty Canadian tar sands export boondoggle.

Sen. Tim Kaine sent an e-mail to supporters Monday morning, telling them he opposes Keystone and urging them to show their opposition.

As a nation, we need to take a stand to support clean energy, create green jobs, and reduce pollution. That’s why I hope you’ll join me in opposing the Keystone project.

The main issue isn’t the pipeline itself. The problem is that the pipeline would transport tar sands oil, fuel that is 15-20% dirtier than conventional petroleum.

Exactly right, and very much in line with what Kaine talked about two years ago at Tigercomm:

*It’s time for opponents of clean energy to stop acting like the reign of fossil fuels as our dominant energy source constitutes some sort of inviolable theology.

*Even for those who don’t “believe” in climate science, or who think clean energy is a science project, it’s still common sense to move ahead aggressively with energy efficiency and clean energy. Unless, of course, they want America assigned permanent international follower status on the technologies other counties want to lead.

*If we find out in 50 years that the climate science was wrong, we’re still ahead by getting off the dirty stuff. If the 98% of practicing climate scientists were right and we let clean energy pass us by, we’ll deeply regret it.

As for Virginia’s other Senator, the one who loves to blame “both sides” for everything and pretend to be what he calls a “radical centrist” (reward to anyone who can get a clear answer out of Warner about what that means?), he’s just completely wrong when it comes to Keystone XL, making the bizarre claim that somehow Keystone’s spur to tar sands development is needed “to make sure we decouple Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas so they can become more independent.” WTF?  I mean, I worked on international oil markets for 17 years, and I really have no idea what he’s blathering about on this. Regardless, any spur to development of the Canadian tar sands would be a huge mistake if we care about, ya know, the planet not burning up and stuff? Apparently, Warner’s more concerned with more important things, like…uh….

  • swvagrl

    but what I am more interested in are the Democratic representatives’ (Gov., Senators, House, State Reps) positions on the three huge (42″) natural gas pipelines that push gas under high pressure through our state to be shipped overseas. What do we get out of being the conduit for natural gas? Most jobs will be provided by trained gypsy work crews hired by the companies that will disappear when the pipeline moves on. There may be a few low paying construction jobs, but they will not last.

    Environmentalists have warned of present dangers, especially to our aquifers in Karst topography where some of us live and of climate change caused by methane escaping into the atmosphere. And, the gas companies do not care about the harm to communities that will occur as they run the pipelines right through the middle of them. Lowered property values–who cares? Dangers of explosions and large blast zones–part of doing business. Worst yet, it’s fracked gas that comes through Virginia-the kind that Governor McAuliffe previously stated he did not support. It’s pretty clear that we are getting little environmental support from Republicans but I thought Democratic representatives whom some of us worked really hard for (e.g., giving up weekends all summer and fall to canvas and phone banking during the week) were supposed to support citizens who are getting completely run over by big energy companies that hold meaningless public meetings where they obfuscate and refuse to answer questions with meaning factual answers. We want to keep our land and homes and do not want them condemned by imminent domain just so a gas company can make big bucks while those who happen to live in their way are mere gas kill.

    If you don’t believe me when I tell you how horrible it is to be disregarded by a) big energy companies who decide on a route and muscle through it no matter what the environmental dangers and damages are, b) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) who has rarely met an energy company’s project it didn’t love, and c) elected representatives who don’t take time to listen to citizens, but have big energy lobbyists close at hand, wait until it happens to you.

  • Quizzical

    Sen. Kaine says the main issue isn’t the pipeline itself, but that it is going to be transporting tar sands oil, which results in more pollution.  I think the main issue is the pipeline itself, specifically, routing it through a large aquifer.  

    As for the tar sands oil, stopping Keystone doesn’t stop the production of the tar sands oil.  First, there already is a pipeline for tar sands oil – the Alberta Clipper — which has been in operation since 2010.  I think the Alberta Clipper pipeline currently carries around 500,000 barrels per day, and there is a dispute about expanding it to 800,000 barrels per day. The oil men are also busy expanding other pipelines to route around the Keystone project. (There have already been some serious pipline leaks of tar sands oil in the U.S., e.g., in Alabama.  That’s were the tar sands oil has been coming from.)

    Second, the tar sands oil is being transported by rail too.  

    So my conclusion is that stopping Keystone would not stop production of dirty tar sands oil, although it may slow the rate of production.

    It follows that the main issue is the location of the Keystone pipeline, in particular, going through an irreplaceable aquifer.  There may be pipelines criss-crossing the aquifer already, but that doesn’t mean it is right to add another huge one.  

    If the main issue is the pollution from tar sands oil, then the debate really should be over shutting down all production from dirty sources like tar sands, not just stopping Keystone.  But I suppose the reality is that the Keystone battle has to be fought now, on the ground the Republicans have chosen, and it may help in the long run to make the points about pollution and global warming.    

  • blue bronc

    The key benefactors of the Keystone Pipeline are the Koch Bros.  It is there company which will own it and the oil that goes through it is their oil.