In the Pipeline: 4/4/11

NYT reporter is shocked by his discovery that we live in a world that is confined by scarcity and that includes energy New York Times (4/3/11) reports: Political support may be holding for nuclear power and offshore oil, despite the Fukushima and Gulf of Mexico disasters, as decision makers confront the challenges of climate change and dwindling energy reserves…A theory of “peak everything” suggests the world is running short of vital assets like clean water, carbon-free air, some minerals, fish stocks and the cheap fossil fuels that have powered the world economy and helped rein in the price of food…If countries want to secure domestic supplies and curb carbon emissions, too, then energy options are limited. And that fact has clearly dawned on governments.

Make due with what you have – onshore oil producers squeeze oil out of a turnip while weathering the EPA storm Houston Chronicle (4/3/11) reports: A spill-related slowdown in the Gulf of Mexico could cut into oil production from the offshore basin for several years. But a number of emerging oil fields onshore, once thought out of reach, are helping the U.S. fill in the gap in the meantime…Oil and gas companies, using techniques mastered in recent years to produce natural gas from shales and other dense rocks, are now having success extracting big quantities of oil from tight rock formations stretching from Texas to North Dakota…Amid steadily high oil prices and a U.S. market saturated with low-price shale gas, they’ve had ample incentive to try…In 2010, when an offshore disaster dominated the news, rising output from such fields – including North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas – quietly helped domestic crude oil production rise for the second year in a row, after years of declines…Production also rose in the Gulf, where several new pro-jects ramped up output. (A federal moratorium on deep-water drilling, which lasted for five months after the Deepwater Horizon accident, did not apply to producing platforms.)

Will it lower energy prices? Check. Will it create jobs? Check. Will it create money for the U.S.? Check. Can we have a permit to build? NO! New York Times (4/2/11) Later this year, the State Department will decide whether to approve construction of a 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast called Keystone XL. The underground 36-inch pipeline, built by TransCanada, would link the tar sands fields of northern Alberta to Texas refineries and begin operating in 2013. The department should say no…The Keystone XL would cut diagonally across Montana and the Nebraska Sand Hills — a delicate region of porous, sandy soils — to northern Kansas before heading south to the Gulf. It would also cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a shallow underground reservoir of enormous importance for agriculture that also provides drinking water for two million people. A pipeline leaking diluted bitumen into groundwater could have disastrous consequences….For this reason, Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson of Nebraska have vigorously opposed the planned route of the Keystone XL. Still, political pressure to win swift approval has been building in Congress. Moving ahead would be a huge error. From all of the evidence, Keystone XL is not only environmentally risky, it is unnecessary.

The fight between reason and emotion on Gulf energy production is renewed with dead sea turtles as we approach the one year anniversary of Deep Water Horizon Huffington Post (4/3/11) reports: Sea turtles continue to wash ashore along the Gulf, forcing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to scramble and figure out what is causing the spike. Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Huffington Post were first to publish blogs about the sea turtle deaths in Mississippi…Since then, the national media picked up the story. Last Friday, NMFS released a statement with some details about its investigation: In the past few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in turtle strandings in the northern Gulf, primarily in Mississippi. The spring time is the typical time when turtle strandings in this region begin to increase, but the sharp increases in recent days are of concern to us….Like the dolphin strandings this year, it’s likely that many more turtles have died and will never be found. A recent study of dolphin deaths showed the true number of mortalities is probably 50 times what is recovered.

Here’s a free talking point — end subsidies for all energy sources. Iowa farmers, go back to growing what the market demands Washington Examiner (4/1/11) reports: I was far from thrilled with John McCain as the GOP presidential candidate, but I always admired one thing about his two bids for the White House: he never sucked up to the ethanol lobby in Iowa. Nearly every other Republican and Democratic presidential candidate did, including Bill Bradley and Al Gore, both of whom admitted they better…You might think the Tea Party’s seriousness about shrinking government and strong distaste for corporate welfare might liberate this year’s GOP field from the ethanol chains. But you’d be wrong. Aside from Buddy Roemer, the lonsghot Republican from Louisiana, who said “I will eliminate the ethanol subsidy,” the rest of the GOP field looks hooked on ethanol.

You go first, Mr. President Detroit News (4/1/11) reports: The U.S. Secret Service said today that some federal vehicles for law enforcement and security purposes will be exempt from President Barack Obama’s directive that all federal vehicles purchased starting 2015 be advanced technology models….Secret Service spokesman Robert Novy said the directive wouldn’t apply to vehicles used for some law enforcement or security reasons by various federal agencies…”Certain specialized vehicles including those with law enforcement and security specifications are not subject to this directive,” Novy said…That would include the GM-built Cadillac presidential limousine and other vehicles in the motorcade. It also expected to include many law enforcement vehicles


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