The following was submitted to the U.S. Department of State in public comment on the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Project.
Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment on Keystone XL pipeline construction.
A Russian stock market news commentator talked about his country’s economy … hopefully … progressing from being a mere commodity resources supplier to a diverse economic engine.
From all appearances the United States is moving in reverse. We moved from an agricultural economy to industrial, post industrial into tech economy and whatever we call what it is today.
We have, however, lost our way … the American way. The way of ingenuity and opportunity.
Ingenuity and opportunity right here in the United States of America. Of course it’s a global economy. That’s exactly why we can’t afford to regress to being an oil and gas exporter. We can’t afford it from an environmental standpoint and we can’t afford it from an economic standpoint.
Economically there is a tremendous risk of our currency being bid up, making our non-petroleum industries noncompetitive. (See Microsoft News).
A short-term boom associated with petroleum production, transport and export will stimulate certain things: Some of these things will be burdensome to society.
To get an idea of what an oil and gas exporting nation looks like, however, all one needs to do is look at photographs of Russia’s Komi Republic region, where tundra has been transformed into wasteland.
There have been many warning signs. Consider Lake Conway in Arkansas. Multiply Lake Conway by many times to reflect the risks associated with pipeline construction for transporting bitumen through key aquifers.
There were the petcoke clouds over Detroit and Chicago.
With Keystone XL operating, “the Texas and Louisiana refineries that would process Keystone crude can produce a petcoke pile the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza every year, which, when burned, would produce more than 18 million tons of carbon pollution” (Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone magazine).
The math is quite simple: Only about 20 percent of known fossil fuel reserves can be burnt if global warming is to be kept within a reasonable range. Unburnable Carbon Report. Anything that would speed the fossil fuel process from the ground to global warming is … suicidal.
Listen … people are dropping dead already from cancers associated with benzene. It’s not like we don’t know that fossil fuel production is dangerous. The Canadian tar sands bitumen is particularly toxic and there is growing evidence that it is very directly making people sick.
When we talk about increasing production of fossil fuels for export … well then we start talking about global warming that will end human existence. It’s very difficult to get our minds around that. We’re so used to cars and gas stations and, heh, you get used to things.
So we have lost our way … there’s no mistaking.
How to get out of this mess?
How about living with a little more dignity?
The current state of our economy – which is, of course, concentrating well into a very few hands – is driven by consumerism. It is a growth economy that leaves large numbers of people jobless and homeless when growth is stalled.
How about an economic system that is not dependent of growth? Please consider “Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources”
True world leadership is not simply a matter of writing laws and applying laws to foster the needs of certain individuals or interest groups. That is mere administration. It’s not even management.
World leaders recognize that humanity is on the brink and that we need real solutions and not simply new sources of revenue which come at great cost. Leaders realize that solutions must be global … it will require the efforts of all nations to pull us back from the brink.
Global warming and pollution will render the human race and other high-level species extinct in short order if the world does not come together to solve our energy problems. The good news is that solar, wind, hydro, etc. are coming of age, offering practical solutions to our energy needs even as fools race to profit from dirty fuel.
There many problems and models that may be difficult for human beings to process. We are creatures of habit, to be sure. We must understand, however, that carbon stays here, around and upon this Earth. It does not drift away into infinite space.
There is a drastic need for change away from fossil fuels. Keystone XL and the increased production and export of fossil fuels, in general, represents the opposite of progress.