After a mere five years’ worth of dawdling which is possibly a record even for moribund Washington, D. C., the Congress is now going to take up a vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The timing of this couldn’t be more transparent as Sen. Mary Landrieu grasps at straws to maintain her seat in the upper chamber for a fourth term – a contest to be decided on December 6th. This caused me to refresh myself on the definition of a word that I think describes the reason that so many of us voted to change the makeup of not only the Congress but further entrenched Republicans in many many statehouses and legislatures.
Cynic – A person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons.
The timing of the pipeline vote, while clearly an attempt to salvage Senator Landrieu’s sinking campaign comes at an interesting moment in history as the president, acting in his capacity as Chief of Negotiating Bad Deals, makes a commitment that the United States, the world’s second biggest “polluter” will make further efforts to reign in our carbon dioxide emissions while the People’s Republic of China, the world’s worst polluter will be allowed to continue to increase their emissions until the year 2030 and then will “try” to limit those going forward.
Obama has characterized “climate change” as the most pressing issue of our time and has devoted himself during the remainder of his term to focusing on addressing the “problem.” By pressing, if you are to accept the arguments that are advanced on the imperiling effects of “climate change,” if we delay taking remedial action even for one day, we take the risk of having put ourselves on a path which has only one ultimate destination – driving the planet past the point of no return and wiping out all life on Earth.
If those who consider themselves “environmental good guys” wonder why, despite the purported agreement of 97% of the “scientific community” that greenhouse gases are the root cause for “climate change,” there are still “deniers” who reject or at the least question their conclusions, it might be that the message which they are peddling is inconsistent.
If we are about to head into the abyss, then it is incomprehensible how the person who has the unique position of being President of the United States, a position which still has some swag, although a declining amount, throughout the world could even consider an agreement with China which allows them to increase and further entrench themselves as the world’s worst polluter – for at least another fifteen years. Particularly if that president has gone on record as saying this is the most important issue facing the nation and the world.
The delay in determining the debate on Keystone XL has, of course, centered around the purported environmental impact which building and using it might cause. I think it would be fair to say that no one, not the drillers, not the owners of the pipeline nor any reasonable person would want to develop a project that had the potential for causing hazardous leaks. The operators would, should such an event occur, lose revenue and would undoubtedly be subject to significant fines. It is in their own best interest to make sure that the pipeline, if constructed, not only functions as intended but does so efficiently on a consistent basis. The “environmentalist” side argues that no such assurances can be given.
The proposed pipeline was intended to be developed in four separate stages, three of which have been completed and comprise an already built 2,151 miles of pipe. That portion of the project is fully operational. The fourth phase, the one under consideration, would be composed of an approximately similar additional amount of pipe. In total, the entire project is composed of less than five thousand miles of pipe. America currently has a network of more than 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, nearly 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines according to the National Resources Defense Council, an organization that has opposed the completion of the pipeline. We already rely heavily on pipelines to move energy from the source of production to refineries and then the ultimate consumer.
Perhaps the most direct correlation between Keystone XL would be to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline – now forty years old. Have there been leaks and spillages that have affected that Alaska Pipeline? The answer is yes – there have been two that have been of significance in its forty year life. And both of those were caused by saboteurs who purposely attacked the pipeline. One of those was an “environmentalist” and the other was a drunk. Should we expect the same if Keystone XL is finally approved? Well, there are more “environmentalists” now than forty years ago – and anyone who both watches and is concerned by the machinations of this administration is probably an excellent candidate for over indulging in demon rum.
The spectre of true environmental damage, if left alone, stemming from the pipeline seems minimal at most. Virtually every scientific study that has examined the question has returned that same verdict. Whether the pipeline would offer continuing high salary employment to tens of thousands is a matter for debate – but it is not debatable that, at the very least, it would provide employment to thousands during its construction. And the argument that it would not benefit Americans by way of lower energy prices as the pipeline’s product would be shipped overseas, ignores the facts of a global economy in which greater production of a product tends to lower the price of that product everywhere that it is consumed.
The real argument, one which you will seldom if ever hear, is that the “environmentalists” want to replace all fossil fuels with renewable alternate sources of energy. While that goal might be admirable, it is, at best, unlikely as even the most optimistic sources feel that green energy might someday provide the world with ten percent of our needs. That falls on deaf ears for people who believe that the only way we will seriously attempt to find new ways to invent green energy is if we make it so painful to use traditional fossil fuels by making them so expensive that we are forced into the effort. Reaching that goal, whatever the price, is their “admirable” aim – and it doesn’t matter to them that hundreds of thousands might die in the process because they cannot afford to turn on and pay for the heat on which they relied their entire lives.
I try to approach every question, particularly ones of importance, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline and green energy, conservation and environmentalism, with an open mind. It would be refreshing if those who argue their position on whichever side of the issue, were actually honest and transparent. Like much of the dogma which is preached by the left, those are two qualities that are conspicuous by their absence. Dishonesty is one of the things that turns me off the fastest.
Perhaps one day those in the liberal camp will wake up and have an epiphany. They’ll get out of bed and find that Santa has left them a present – a new pair of “Big Boy Pants.” And they’ll advocate for their position truthfully and without deception. That will be the day I will take them seriously and listen to their position with interest and without prejudice. But that event, should it ever occur, seems to be something belonging to a far distant future. Or that it will ever occur – well, perhaps that’s just a pipe dream.