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Wednesday, den 11. July 2012

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued the findings today of a two year investigation into spill of tar sands oil from an Enbridge pipeline into the Kalamazoo River. read more

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Sunday, den 1. July 2012

Image: Environmental Protection Agency America has a new word to learn: Dilbit . Dilbit, short for diluted bitumen, is a combination of tar sands crude (bitumen) and dangerous liquid chemicals like benzene (the dilutant) used to thin crude so it can be piped to refineries. And there is a lot of it being piped into America — in some cases through the backyards of communities that don’t even know it’s there

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Category: author, Climate Progress, CNN, Economy, Environment, Feeds, Global Warming, Health, Justice, LGBT, Media, Politics, Science, ThinkProgress, Tweets, War | Comments Off
Thursday, den 26. April 2012

Coming to a state near you? By Tom Kenworthy Before long the tar sands issue won’t be just about imports from Canada via pipeline. Utah, which has never met a dirty fuel it didn’t love, has been encouraging efforts to develop a home-grown tar sands industry. Construction on a project located on state lands in the eastern part of the state could begin by the end of the year, according to a story in Environment and Energy Publishing’s Energy Wire: “It’s not just something that’s up in Canada,” Utah Tar Sands Resistance member Raphael Cordray told E&E. “People don’t know it’s here in Utah. Our goal is to get the citizens of Utah to recognize that there’s a proposed tar sands site in Utah that could become the first commercial site in America, and what is at stake.” Utah has about a third of the roughly 36 billion barrels of tar sands oil thought to be located in the U.S. Not all of that is estimated to be technically or commercially recoverable, however.  Tar sands contain a form of petroleum called bitumen that can be refined into gasoline. But the process is costly, energy-intensive, and on a life-cycle basis releases far more global warming pollutants than conventional oil refining operations. U.S. Oil Sands, the Canadian based company that is working to develop the Utah deposits, has leases on about 32,000 acres of land in the state. The company was granted permits to begin production by the state in 2009. But it faces a legal challenge from an environmental group, Living Rivers, which fears tar sands production will harm Utah’s desert and mountain landscapes. Meanwhile, supporters of another dirty fossil fuel, oil shale, have been making a political ruckus in a number of counties in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming — organized by a former Bush administration Interior Department official who now directs a Utah state office focused on energy development on federal lands in the state. A number of county boards in the region have approved, or considered approving, a resolution taking the Obama administration to task for scaling back plans by the Bush administration to develop oil shale resources. Combined with  efforts on Capitol Hill , this represents the beginning of an all-out election year push by Republicans to agitate for massive developments of dirty and impractical fossil fuels. Oil shale – not to be confused with shale oil deposits like those in the Bakken field in North Dakota – is an energy developers’ pipe dream. Though oil shale deposits in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah may contain an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, it has never been proven to be commercially viable in the U.S. Oil shale is a rock that contains kerogen and must be heated to very high temperatures to release a synthetic oil. It has “ one-third the energy density of Cap’n Crunch! “ Shale oil is conventional oil trapped in reservoirs found in shale rock formations. Development of oil shale could have a significant impact on already stressed western water supplies, according to a 2010 study by the General Accounting Office. And a recent report by Western Resource Advocates shows that oil shale development would take huge amounts of energy, would have emit large amounts of global warming pollutants, and would increase air pollution problems in the interior West. Tom Kenworthy is a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress Action Fund

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Wednesday, den 25. January 2012

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chair of the House energy committee, told Politico that House Republicans intend to attach language pushing approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline into an expected February bill to extend the payroll tax holiday. “ We’re going to be using it, every opportunity to push Keystone .” Republicans are also considering attaching it to the upcoming transportation spending bill .

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Wednesday, den 28. December 2011

Extraction of Alberta’s energy-intensive tar sands has expanded steadily in recent years, with about 232 square miles now exposed by mining operations. That expansion is expected to double over the next decade, which could mean the destruction of 740,000 acres of boreal forest and a 30% increase in carbon emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector. New satellite images show the dramatic expansion that has taken place from 2001 through 2011. (Photos by Robert Simmon, NASA/Landsat/USGS.) So what’s the actual impact on the ground? Here’s what happens when you turn a carbon sink like the Boreal Forest into a carbon-spewing pit of tar sands. (Photos from Peter Essick of National Geographic, edited by Treehugger.) Related Post: Canadian Officials Privately Admit “an Absence of Credible Scientific Evidence” That Tar Sands Are Getting Cleaner

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Sunday, den 25. December 2011

Attached to the payroll tax deal was a provision forcing President Obama to decide within 60 days whether or not to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, before its route is even finalized. The deadline runs out on February 21, 2012. The State Department has made it clear it can’t do a proper review of the pipeline, especially considering that TransCanada has agreed to change the pipeline’s pathway in Nebraska but hasn’t even finalized the new route. With this new and arbitrary deadline, the punditocracy is relitigating the question of whether it should be built. The DC political elite assumed that the pipeline was an inevitability , dismissive or ignorant of the popular opposition to a risky, foreign tar sands pipeline cutting across the center of the nation. Most were blindsided when the State Department announced it needed to review its obviously flawed assessment of the project, and when the state of Nebraska held an emergency legislative session against the pipeline. With the new rush to approve TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline, let’s review some key facts that should underlie any analysis of the proposed 1700-mile project from Alberta to Texas: The approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline was tainted by corruption. The federal approval process was run by a contractor for the pipeline company itself. Cardno Entrix was chosen and paid by TransCanada to draft the State Department’s environmental and historical impact statement, manage public hearings, and receive public comment. Big oil’s lobbying group American Petroleum Institute was also involved in drafting the environmental impact statement while running ads in favor of tar sands development. TransCanada, who employed former Hillary Clinton aides as lobbyists, has bullied landowners and moved towards construction without needed approval . In response to a congressional request, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation . Keystone XL was not an American jobs bonanza. In 2008, TransCanada’s Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL to the State Department indicated “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” to build the pipeline. The State Department’s more generous estimate, compiled by a TransCanada contractor, was for 5,000 temporary jobs. The only independent analysis conducted of the American job-creation potential of the Keystone XL pipeline finds that between 500 and 1400 temporary local construction jobs will be created, with a negative long-term economic impact as gas prices rise in the Midwest and environmental costs are borne. A deal struck between TransCanada and some American unions in September 2010 assumed rapid approval of the pipeline, which has obviously not come to pass. Other labor unions oppose the pipeline. Much of the temporary employment potential for Keystone XL is already in the past, with foreign-built pipe stockpiled in North Dakota. Rapid Canadian tar sands development is not an inevitability. The Keystone XL pipeline is not the only tar sands project facing major headwinds. Stephen Harper, Canada’s oil-friendly prime minister, is telling reporters that if Keystone XL isn’t built, Canada will build a pipeline to its west coast and ship oil to Canada. Of course, Haper and the oil companies are hoping to do both — they want tar sands pipelines going in every direction. But the multi-year push to go west has been stalled just like Keystone XL. With fierce opposition from indigenous communities, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline — planned in 2005 — has been delayed to late 2013 , and wouldn’t go on line before 2017. There needs to be a rapid decarbonization of the global economy, incompatible with Keystone XL. Tar sands oil is even more toxic to the climate than conventional oil. As KC Golden writes, “IEA’s warnings against imminent climate ‘lock-in’ mean that any major investment in long-lived, capital-intensive fossil-fuel infrastructure must now be considered flatly immoral .” The expected lifetime of the 500,000-barrel-a-day Keystone XL pipeline is fifty years. Unfortunately, these facts are being ignored by a lot of intelligent people weighing in on the Keystone XL fight. Econ blogger Matt Yglesias, who discloses that his uncle, prominent economist Paul Jaskow, is on TransCanada’s board, hopes for a world in which “America taxes carbon and continues to build out fossil fuel infrastructure .” That’s not a “sage compromise,” it’s a recipe for disaster, incompatible with a path of climate survival. Yglesias cites economist and blogger James Hamilton, who also favors the Keystone XL pipeline. Hamilton argues approval of Keystone “should be an easy decision ,” because the pipeline would make tar sands crude more expensive by allowing it to reach international markets, generating “$3.6 billion in annual value added.” That benefit, Hamilton claims, “would go to the people who work to build the pipeline, motorists who buy the gasoline, workers and companies that produce the oil, and the government that collects taxes from all the rest.” The benefit certainly wouldn’t go to the few people who would work to build the pipeline — it’s not like they get royalties once their work is done. The “new real income and growth” that would come from relieving the Midwest tar sands glut wouldn’t in any way be evenly distributed. Essentially its only economic effect would be to transfer billions of dollars from Midwest motorists to Canadian oil producers, Texas refiners, and international commodity traders, while accelerating catastrophic climate change. It would exacerbate economic and political inequality, not improve it.

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Saturday, den 24. December 2011

This winter has been unusually warm, crippling ski resorts, ruining holiday traditions, and dashing hopes of a white Christmas across the northern hemisphere. While the billions of tons of greenhouse pollution in our atmosphere sometimes encourage freak snowstorms , the primary effect of global warming on winter is, well, warmer temperatures — making white Christmases less likely. Temperature increases in some regions were off the charts in November, with northern Norway about 10°F warmer than average . In Finland, snow has been replaced by rain, killing World Cup and European Cup ski races, hurting retail sales, and adding to the gloom people feel from the long winter dark. This “black Christmas” shows the “ footprint of global warming “: Helsinki is experiencing uncharacteristically mild December temperatures, and only light dustings of snow have come and gone. “At the beginning of December it was on average six degrees warmer than is usual for this time of year,” meteorologist Pauli Jokinen told AFP. He said the snow’s no-show in the south of the country this year was partly due to natural variations, but also a footprint of global warming . “You can’t put a single season down to climate change, but we have seen that climate change has lifted the baseline temperatures ,” he explained. In Indiana, golf courses are still open while ski resorts remain shuttered. From the Pyrenees to the Balkans, ski resorts in the Alps have not only failed to receive natural snow, it’s been too warm to make any. “ Virginia ski resorts are watching their assets melt away.” The December season has been a wash for the $1 billion New Hampshire ski resort industry . “ Skiing is all right , if you consider the rain and everything,” one Massachusetts skier said of resorts’ efforts to make snow amid spring-like weather. “Most Canadians will not wake up to a white Christmas on December 25 for the first time since Canada’s weather office began recording snowfalls in 1955,” AFP reports. Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips told AFP “he has never seen so little snowpack in Canada’s cities.” Because of global warming pollution from burning fossil fuels, winters are generally becoming milder, wetter, and starting later, making the promise of a white Christmas more of a dream.

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Sunday, den 4. December 2011

Although China boasts of its green progress , the booming nation is also making major bets on North and South American tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet. This play for civilization-threatening energy comes even as the world’s nations jockey over the fragile international climate accords in Durban, South Africa: On Monday, China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) closed its acquisition of bankrupt Canadian tar sands producer OPTI Canada Inc . CNOOC gets OPTI’s 35 percent working interest in Long Lake and three other project areas located in the Athabasca region of northeastern Alberta, split with Canadian operator Nexen Inc. The deal cost $34 million for OPTI stock and $2 billion in debt. [ Reuters ] On Wednesday, CNOOC and Nexen formed a joint venture, giving CNOOC a 20 percent working interest in the Kakuna, Angel Fire, and Cypress deepwater exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico. [ BusinessWeek ] These dirty investments in North American fossil fuel projects are just the latest in a rapid string of deals to give China access to high-polluting carbon energy from the Americas. Over the last three years, China-owned companies have invested over $18 billion in tar sands, shale gas, and coal projects in Canada and Venezuela: November, 2011: China signs a $6 billion deal with Venezuela to develop tar sands — $4 billion to the Chinese-Venezuelan tar sands company Sinovensa to increase production from 118,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million barrels a day in 2014, and $2 billion to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela for refining projects, drills, and equipment. [ Channel News Asia ] October, 2011: Sinopec spends $2.2 billion to acquire shale gas producer Daylight Energy, which controls 300,000 acres of oil and gas property, at a 70 percent premium. [ Bloomberg ] May, 2010: China Investment Corporation spends $1.25 billion on Alberta tar sands — $817 million for a 45 percent stake in the Peace River tar sands project owned by Penn West Energy Trust, and $435 million for a 5 percent interest in the company. [ Penn West Energy ] April, 2010: Sinopec spends $4.65 billion to buy ConocoPhillips’ 9 percent stake in tar sands producer Syncrude Canada. [ New York Times ] February, 2010: PetroChina spends $1.73 billion to purchase 60 percent of AOSC’s MacKay River and Dover tar sands projects. [ CRI ] July, 2009: China Investment Corporation spends $1.5 billion to purchase 17 percent of Teck Resources, Canada’s largest metallurgical coal and copper mining company. CIC was recently granted a seat on Teck’s board of directors. [ China Daily ] In 2005, PetroChina and Enbridge signed a $2 billion deal to help the Canadian tar sands company develop the Northern Gateway Pipeline , a project intended to deliver 400,000 barrels of tar crude a day from Edmonton, Alberta to the British Columbia port town of Kitimat, giving China access to direct tar sands shipping. The pipeline has been unbuilt for years, facing stiff opposition and economic challenges. This Friday, Gitxsan First Nation announced it would become “the first aboriginal partner ” for the pipeline. On Thursday, 130 native groups in Western Canada pledged to block the project . Enbridge has offered up to a 10 percent stake in the pipeline to first nations who sign on.

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Saturday, den 3. December 2011

By Jessica Goad, Manager of Research and Outreach, Center for American Progress Action Fund. Today the House’s subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on expediting the decision to permit the Keystone XL pipeline . In early November, under intense pressure from landowners in the path of the pipeline, environmentalists, and others, the president and the State Department delayed a decision on the pipeline until early 2013 while alternate routes are studied. As Politico’s Morning Energy reported, today’s hearing was “the first chance Republicans have gotten to vent in an official setting over the pipeline’s review being delayed by the administration.” At the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said the president’s decision to delay the the pipeline had “nothing to do” with the state of Nebraska: Why does the administration insist on waiting another minimum of 12-15 months to make a decision on this project? But even without their answers, I think it’s very safe to assume this latest delay has nothing to do with pipeline safety, oil sands production, or even the state of Nebraska . Instead, it has everything to do with appeasing a small, vocal group of opponents of this project. Watch it: Actually, the decision was very much in response to public concerns, and expressly those in Nebraska. After the delay was announced, State Department spokeswoman Kerri-Ann Jones told reporters that the …message about the Nebraska Sand Hills has been coming strong and with increasing intensity. And that: The review we are doing is to specifically look at alternative routes through Nebraska . We won’t go more broadly than that. Indeed, in late October Republican Gov. Dave Heineman (NE) called a special session of the state legislature to address his citizens’ concerns posed by the pipeline, and soon after the Republican-controlled legislature voted to reroute the pipeline so as to avoid the Sand Hills region and the Ogallala Aquifer. It is interesting to note that although TransCanada originally was strongly resistant to alternate routes for the pipeline, after the Nebraska vote the company is already working to find a new one . Jane Kleeb, who testified today on behalf of BOLD Nebraska, further explained the position of Nebraska landowners in her testimony: While the permit process may seem like it is taking too long, we still have no proposed route in Nebraska and no study on how tar sands affects our land, water and health . Additionally, if this oil is meant for the United States, then please make an agreement stating as much. Pass a bill saying the oil is for US consumption. It is hard to rationalize how a pipeline carrying oil across our nation to an unknown final destination can be in our national interest. We all know TransCanada and other tar sands companies need to get their oil to various ports in order to sell it to the highest bidder. In the end, we assume all the risks and none of the rewards . One of the biggest issues discussed in the hearing was jobs. Republican members of Congress , the American Petroleum Institute , and TransCanada have all recently claimed that the Keystone XL pipeline would create upwards of 20,000 jobs. However, the State Department put the number of jobs created at 5,000-6,000 , which in itself is criticized as an overestimate . In today’s hearing, both subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) pointed out that even though they profess to wanting to create jobs, House Republicans have refused to bring President Obama’s American Jobs Act to a vote . This is not the first time Republicans have tried to interfere with the Obama administration’s process. In July, the House passed Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-NE) North American-Made Energy Security Act, which would have required the president to make a decision on the pipeline’s approval by November 1, 2011 . The Senate did not take up the bill. And, Senator Dick Lugar introduced a bill last week that would require the president to make a decision on the pipeline 60 days after his bill has passed , unless the pipeline was determined to not be in the national interest. Terry, who will soon be introducing another bill to expedite the pipeline’s approval, announced before the hearing that House Speaker John Boehner has agreed to attach the new Keystone delay bill to legislation addressing unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts .

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Wednesday, den 30. November 2011

An “ oily muck ” from the Suncor Energy tar sands refinery in Commerce City, Colorado has contaminated a creek that leads to the South Platte River, a major source of fresh water for Colorado residents. Contractors for the Canadian oil company are working to trap the seep with booms and suck up the poisoned water, Denver’s ABC news channel reports. “We’re responding in what we believe is a responsible way to treat the environment ,” said John Gallagher, vice president of refining for Suncor. The EPA has fined the refinery $364,000 for pollution violations during the past five years, including $130,500 last month. (HT: NWF )

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Friday, den 18. November 2011

After the spiking of the Keystone XL pipeline by the Obama administration, the tar sands industry moved quickly to open an alternate route from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. With the announcement of the pipeline deal, U.S. oil prices spiked, on the expectation that Canadian tar sands crude would no longer be locked in the Midwest market. ConocoPhillips sold its stake in the Seaway Pipeline, which connects Texas to Oklahoma, to Enbridge Inc. Enbridge plans to alter the 200,000 barrel-per-day pipeline so that it can take Candian crude from Oklahoma to Texas: The sale of an oil pipeline running from Oklahoma to Texas upended U.S. energy markets Wednesday, sending the price of crude surging above $100 a barrel as America copes with the promise and pitfalls of its new energy boom. Enbridge Inc.—which bought a 50% stake in the Seaway Pipeline—announced it would reverse the direction of the flow, allowing more crude to move south from oil storage in Cushing, Okla., into the world’s largest refinery complex along the Gulf Coast . Every analysis has been that giving Canada access to Gulf Coast refineries would increase prices for Americans. TransCanada estimated its 700,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline would increase oil prices by about $6.55 a barrel in the United States. Despite the facts, the fiction that building the Keystone XL pipeline would benefit American oil consumers has been popular among proponents. Sen. Grassley (R-IA) claimed the Keystone XL project would “ reduce prices at the pump for consumers.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the pipeline would “ lower gas prices .” Energy chair Fred Upton (R-MI) claimed expediting the pipeline would “ lower energy prices .” Natural Resource Committee chair Doc Hastings (R-TX) claimed Keystone XL would “ lower gasoline prices .” Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said it would “help reduce energy prices .” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said his vote to approve the pipeline “ reduces the cost of gas and boosts the economy.” Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) complained that “delaying the pipeline will hurt American energy prices .” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said the pipeline would mean “ lower prices .” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said the pipeline would help “ stabilize prices at the pump for Michigan families.” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) claimed it would “ lower gas prices .” Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) said the pipeline would help “ hold down future price increases.” It would “help reduce the burden of high gas prices on American families,” claimed Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA). Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) said it would “ lower the price of fuel for all Americans.”

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Monday, den 14. November 2011

Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green’s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we’re reading. What are you? An Iowan photographer has seen first hand the dramatic changes in the Arctic Ocean and glaciers around the world due to rapid global warming. [ Des Moines Register ] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will open a forum in Bangladesh on Monday at which countries most vulnerable to climate change will try to unite ahead of global talks in South Africa in December. [ AFP ] Knowing that aid from the government or insurance will fall short, Vermonters have been raising money through benefit concerts, fundraising campaigns and events like barbecues and pie sales to help those whose homes were damaged or lost in the flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Irene. [ AP ] Policies to protect the global climate and limit global temperature rise offer the most effective entry point for achieving energy sustainability, reducing air pollution, and improving energy security, according to an article published in the latest issue of Nature Climate Change. [ Sicence Daily ] A string of climate disasters and earthquakes has exposed a vulnerability in global supply chains : How do you set up a network that is compact enough to be efficient but spread widely enough that no single unexpected event can knock it out? [ Reuters ] Residents of remote Alaska towns and tiny Native villages were working on Friday to tally up damages from a near-record storm that lashed the state’s west coast, officials said. [ Reuters ] An execeptionally warm October has brought a freakish, false spring to Great Britain, disrupting the natural cycle of flowers, birds, and bees. [ Guardian ] The United States expects Asia Pacific leaders on Sunday to take a “significant step” toward reducing tariffs and other barriers that block trade in environmentally-friendly goods and services, a senior administration official said on Sunday. [ Reuters ] Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will step up efforts to supply oil to Asia after Washington delayed a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada to the United States. [ Reuters ]

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Wednesday, den 9. November 2011

“The most powerful storm to affect the Bering Sea coast of Alaska in 37 years is pounding Alaska’s west coast and Eastern Siberia with hurricane-force winds , a destructive storm surge up to 7 feet high, waves up to 35 feet high, and blinding snow,” Wunderground’s Jeff Masters reports on the Alaska superstorm . “Tin City on the west coast of Alaska north of Nome recorded sustained winds of 70 mph, gusting to 81 mph, at 1:55 am local time this morning, and hurricane-force winds are likely affecting much of the open waters of the Bering Sea. A storm surge of 6 feet hit Nome, Alaska this morning, pushed inland by sustained winds that reached 45 mph, gusting to 61 mph. A even higher storm surge is predicted for this evening. The last time Nome, Alaska saw a storm this strong was November 11 – 12 1974, when the city experienced sustained winds of 46 mph with gusts to 69 mph, a pressure that bottomed out at 969 mb, and a storm surge of 13 feet that pushed beach driftwood above the previous high storm tide mark set in 1913. The center of today’s storm moved ashore over eastern Siberia near 12 UTC with a central pressure of 945 mb . The storm has likely peaked in strength, and will gradually weaken as it moves northeast into the Arctic.”

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Saturday, den 5. November 2011

Proponents of the dangerous Keystone XL project claim that construction of the 1700-mile tar sands pipeline from Canada to Texas will create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of much-needed jobs across the country. “ Jobs for the 99% !” proclaims a website funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The Wall Street Journal promises “ 13,000 union jobs .” On the House floor today, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) claimed the pipeline will create “ 20,000 high-wage construction jobs .” Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) says the pipeline will “ create 14,600 jobs in Illinois.” The US Chamber of Commerce claims the project will create “ more than 250,000 permanent jobs .” “U.S. jobs supported by Canadian oil sands development could grow from 21,000 jobs today to 465,000 jobs by 2035,” said API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin. Accepting these figures, reporters like CNN’s Steve Hargreaves , NPR’s Ari Shapiro , and the New York Times’ Kirk Johnson have portrayed the battle over the tar sands pipeline as one of economic benefits versus environmental fears. However, these tremendous-seeming jobs claims are based entirely on a report by the Perryman Group , commissioned by the pipeline’s owner TransCanada, whose results have been described as “ dead wrong ” and “ meaningless ” by Council on Foreign Relations fellow Michael Levi and environmental economist Andrew Leach, neither of whom oppose the construction of the pipeline. The only independent analysis conducted of the American job-creation potential of the Keystone XL pipeline finds that between 500 and 1400 temporary construction jobs will be created, with a negative long-term economic impact as gas prices rise in the Midwest and environmental costs are borne: Why this tremendous discrepancy? Examining TransCanada’s business operations, the Cornell Global Labor Institute report finds that TransCanada has already purchased most of the steel it intends to use for the pipeline from India; that most of the work will be conducted by people already employed by TransCanada; and that the Perryman Group included already-completed pipeline projects in its job-creation estimates. “The operating costs for KXL are very minimal,” the Cornell Global Labor Institute report explains, “and based on the figures provided by TransCanada for the Canadian section of the pipeline, the new permanent US pipeline jobs in the US number as few as 50 .” Unlike the Perryman Group’s “opaque” methodology,” the Cornell report explains its calculations with full transparency .

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Friday, den 4. November 2011

House Energy and Commerce ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) slammed Republicans for taking the extreme step of issuing subpoenas to the White House for all communication related to the solar company Solyndra. At the committee’s business meeting, Waxman noted that the Republican chairs, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), rejected offers from the White House Counsel to offer all communications related to specific accusations lobbed by critics of the Department of Energy loan guarantee to the bankrupt solar company. “Our focus should be jobs,” he said: Apparently what the committee really wants is a confrontation with the president, not information for the investigation. No wonder the public holds this Congress in such low regard. Our focus should be jobs. Our attention should be on rebuilding our economy, not manufacturing controversies with our president . Watch it: Waxman also criticized the extraordinary decision to subpoena the White House, something he never did as chair of either the House oversight committee or energy committee during the Reagan and Bush presidencies. With the House in Republican hands, public approval of Congress has plummeted to 9 percent .

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Friday, den 4. November 2011

Climate Science Watch director Rick Piltz believes President Obama needs to do more to fight the right-wing fossil industry that is preventing action on climate change pollution. In an Al Jazeera segment on the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study — Richard Muller’s Koch-funded confirmation that global warming is real — Piltz says, “The right wing is dug in on being against government regulation and really denying the science, and even in the White House, you don’t have the President talking about the problem .”

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Friday, den 9. September 2011

This week, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) left the campaign trail to respond to wildfires in Texas that he described as “ surreal ” and “as mean-looking as I’ve ever seen.” The fires, fed by a summer of heat and drought far beyond anything Texas has ever experienced before, have destroyed over 1,000 homes . “The science is not settled on this,” Perry said at last night’s GOP debate, rejecting the fact of manmade global warming. “Just because you have a group of scientists who stood up and said here is the fact,” comparing himself to Galileo , who was persecuted by religious leaders. Perry responded earlier this year to the Texas drought — then much weaker — by issuing an official proclamation to pray for rain . ThinkProgress reporter Scott Keyes questioned the Perry campaign about whether the extreme heat, drought, and fires in his state have influenced Perry’s belief that global warming is a hoax concocted by scientists to get money. Mark Miner, Perry’s national press secretary affirmed that the “natural disaster” “doesn’t change his position”: No, I mean this is a natural disaster going on in Texas right now. It’s a terrible situation. It doesn’t change his position . There are differing views. As president, you shouldn’t listen to one group and change all of our policies that are going to kill jobs just for the sake of one group. Watch it: Asked again if he sees a connection between global warming and the types of droughts and wildfires we’ve seen, Miner said that he thought the fires might have been started by arson, completely ignoring the question of how Texas got so dry and hot that its fires have become overwhelming. Texan climate scientists do not agree with the Perry campaign, unsurprisingly. “We can be confident we’ve made this hellish summer worse than it would have been,” Texas A&M’s Dr. Andrew Dessler told NPR News about the effect of greenhouse pollution on Texas. Because of global warming pollution, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told ThinkProgress, “ evaporation has been enhanced , soils and plants dried out faster, streamflow declined faster, and temperature records were easier to break.”

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