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Is North Dakota Media Slowly Figuring Out Keystone XL Fraud? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   

BeulahBeaconSmThere's an interesting little morsel in the February 23rd, 2012, edition of the Beulah Beacon.  It's an editorial entitled "Keystone XL motivated by politics" and it's a rare, fact-based North Dakota newspaper editorial.  It's worth stopping in at your local library to read it.  Here's an excerpt:

...Making decisions without all the answers can have disastrous consequences, whether those decisions are made locally or at a national level. The choice had been made to extend the deadline until 2013 to examine the entire project, which quite possibly doesn’t have any major benefits for the United States, even if it does have benefits for potential U.S. stockholders.

Sen. John Hoeven was also recently on the record about this project, noting that it was a “vital infrastructure that’s very much needed by our country.” In his statement Hoeven noted that a major percentage of the crude oil and refined gasoline would stay in the country, although that’s a notion I remain skeptical about.

Are the oil and gasoline needed in this country? Sure, although there is no guarantee that those same commodities won’t get shipped off into the world market to the highest bidder. There’s also no guarantee that refining the gasoline elsewhere isn’t going to drive up gas prices in the Midwest.

Not creating the pipeline isn’t going to affect North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 3.3 percent (still the lowest in the nation). Pushing it forward too fast runs the real risk of having it in place before the infrastructure above the Bakken, Three Forks and the Alberta Tar Sands areas can keep up with it...

Beulah Beacon (op-ed not available online)

Not bad for a small-town newspaper editorial. This writer almost seems to get it.

Even though I recognize newspaper writers always bump up against page/word limit problems, I can't help but point out that there are some important details missing from the editorial: (1) The a part of the editorial not excerpted talks about the over-inflated (20,000) job estimates, points out the Justice Departments more moderate estimate (6,000), but fails to point out the independent Cornell University study that suggests there may be a net-negative job gain (a/k/a a job loss); (2) Though the editorial talks about how (a) it's possible none of the tar sands oil will be sold in America and (b) it's possible construction of the Keystone XL may cause gas prices in the midwest to be forced up, the editorial does not talk about the fact these are not just crazy blogger allegations; these are the facts as presented by TransCanada in its application to build the pipeline.  

I will credit the author/editor -- Chris Erickson -- with pointing out something NOBODY ELSE has talked about; that building the pipeline could cause an increase in truck traffic in the oil field and not the decrease suggested by politicians and oil company cheerleaders.  (I know; that's kind of redundant.)  Think about it: You build a new pipeline that goes from somewhere in Canada, travels through Baker, Montana, and then ends up somewhere the Gulf area of Texas. The pipe does not enter North Dakota at any point.  

Question:  How is the oil going to get from an oil well 25 miles northwest of Stanley, North Dakota, to the KXL onramp in Baker, Montana?  

Answer:  Well, there are two (or more) answers:  (1) there may be additional "feeder" pipelines built to get the oil from various points in the Bakken over to Baker, MT; and (2) Some trucks (and trains) will inevitably have to haul oil from various places within the oil field to the "on-ramps" to the feeder pipelines while other trucks and trains may have to transport it to Baker.  If there's an increase in flow out of Baker, MT, there will likely be a corresponding increase in truck traffic, just to keep up.

But who knows how significant this will be, too, right? You have to keep in mind there are no guarantees ANY Bakken oil will be allowed on the Keystone XL pipeline. You also have to keep in mind that by the time the Keystone XL is built (if it's built), the Bakken will be producing in excess of 700,000 barrels of oil per day.  John Hoeven's hyper-optimistic speculation is that TransCanada might consider allowing, on occasion, up to 100,000 barrels of Bakken oil into the pipleine, per day.  Right now the Bakken is production somewhere near 500,000 barrels of oil per day.  So in two years, when we're producing 700,000 barrels/day, and the Keystone XL might transport 100,000 of those barrels, because of the increase, we'll still need to truck 100,000 more barrels than we're trucking today, and we'll also need to get oil from the oil wells to the onramps.  

Bottom line... we're going to see a significant increase in oil truck traffic if things continue at their current pace.

Maybe we need to think bigger and think more about helping America be energy self-sufficient.  Rather than allowing a foreign corporation to build a more direct shipping route to get their dirty oil to Chinese markets, mabe we ought to seriously consider creating an Energy Authority and having the Authority build a state-owned refinery and state-owned oil pipeline(s) to get our oil to domestic markets. We already have a hugely successful state-owned bank and state-owned mill and elevator; why not have a state owned oil company.

I should note... This is actually a specific platform item for North Dakota's Democratic-NPL Party.  Here's what it says:

The Dem-NPL supports the state to invest in and develop the infrastructure necessary to have our own natural gas and crude oil refining facilities. [sic]

Dem-NPL.com (Note: I would have written that differently) (;-p)

Norway has an oil company.  It's called "Statoil ASA" and it recently purchased American oil company Brigham Exploration Co. They seem to be doing okay.

But more people would need to be educated about the fraud being perpetrated on Americans by politicians like John Hoeven and Rick Berg, who blindly advocate for the Keystone XL without even thinking about the repercussions and/or alternatives.  

A hat tip to the Beulah Beacon for (maybe) starting that education.


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