The Widdershins

The Fun in the Senate…to be continued

Posted on: November 19, 2014

circular firing squad

Ladies and gents, the fun is just beginning and the new Congress hasn’t even been sworn in yet.  Yesterday we saw a vote fail on the Keystone XL Pipeline.  It was one vote shy of the required 60 and even that would not have been enough to override a Presidential veto.  I heard talk that Landrieu may try to get one more vote on it.  She’s not in a position to do a lot of arm-twisting because the odds are against her getting reelected.  That’s a shame because she has been a good Senator for Louisiana.  She was able to get billions in assistance for the state and SE La when the Federal levees failed and was even helpful in getting some of the FEMA loans to local governments forgiven.  Well that’s neither here nor there.  When I receive my absentee ballot I will vote for Landrieu and hope for the best.

But on to the fun in the title.  From an article in Tiger Beat On the Potomac I read that the Dems are going to be ready to fight and stand on the issues they hold dearly, like climate change.

Liberal Senate Democrats united to block the controversial project, even though their imperiled Democratic colleague Mary Landrieu of Louisiana begged them not to at a Democratic Caucus lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

It was a remarkable move for a group that has stood behind Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the years, as he sought to protect vulnerable moderates, like Landrieu and some of her now-ousted colleagues, from taking tough votes on divisive environmental, health care and social issues.
Jeff Merkley of Oregon said: “I will use whatever tools I have as a senator to protect the environment,”

Sheldon Whitehouse a Senator from Rhode Island added:
“They actually want to tear down environmental protection and regulation in every public comment that I’ve heard a Republican make. Clearly, there’s a challenge coming. And we have to be prepared to meet that challenge,” Whitehouse said. “With respect to climate, you can’t just go back and fix it and make it right with whoever was hurt by some stupid policy.”
I’m not sure where the good Senator has been because going back to the time when Obama was first elected, we knew what the Republican actions and responses to the President and his agenda would be, because the then Senate Minority Leader told us.  So the good Senator should not expect the Majority Republicans in the Senate to stand idly by while some Democrats try to thwart their plans.  The Republicans do not play nicely and I expect we’ll see some bodies figuratively strewn around the Senate floor.  And I meant what I wrote when I wrote  “some Democrats” because the Dems in then Senate won’t be in lockstep with their leadership.  As the article says “the early battle lines appear increasingly drawn around environmental policy, where Democratic centrists may defect from leadership in next year’s Senate and help Republicans pass legislation strongly opposed by liberal senators.”

And speaking of the pipeline and the oil from the Canadian tar pits, do the environmental Democrats

right click me to open in a new window

think that if they block the pipeline going to Texas that this will stop the use and refining of tar sands oils?  It won’t.  Either TransCanada will ship by rail to the refineries in the Gulf or they will use existing rail lines in Canada and ship to that country’s East Coast.

And we already know what has happened previously when trains were transporting oil in Canada. That was pretty disastrous.
Then the other thing the Canadians can do with their tar oil is to transport it west to British Columbia and they have a plan for that too.

Right click me to open in a new tab.

So you see, no matter if we stop the pipeline coming into the states, as long as it is economically feasible, this oil from the tar sands of Alberta is going to be refined.  And this isn’t something I am for.  It is a dirty, nasty operation to get the oil from the sands and then this is an extremely heavy crude oil and it takes a lot of energy to process and refine it.
And last, I wish the environmentalist Senators would get a little worked up about all the coal that is being transported by barge down the Mississippi to Plaquemines Parish to then be loaded onto ocean going vessels, taken to other countries and used there.  We may not be burning that coal here but since they are getting read to build the third transport facility in Plaquemines, they sure must be burning that stuff somewhere.  Imagine:  people in parts of southeast Louisiana are getting to experience the joys of having coal dust cover their cars, their houses and other properties.   Some links:
Okay Widdershins this is a completely open thread.  Comment as you wish about whatever you wish.  Sorry about the text color changing from gray to black and stuff.  Don’t know what happened and was too pooped to try to figure it out.  My bad.

10 Responses to "The Fun in the Senate…to be continued"

I wonder why the Canadians don’t build their own refineries near the pits? I would think the refined stuff would be easier to ship out, but I really don’t know anything about it.

annie@1: Good question. Unless it’s because refineries are expensive to build, which they probably are. But then, so is building a pipeline. I don’t know when the last refinery was built in the U.S. but it has been quite some time.

The other thing too is if the price of oil keeps dropping, it won’t make economic sense to keep going after the oil in these tar sands. From what I read it is a very expensive process to scoop out the sands and then they have to use a steam or chemical process to get the oil out of those sands.

I also think that the Canadians are still gun shy from the Valdez fiasco. They don’t want that crap in their country any longer than it has to be there.

@4: Could be, but check out that link to the company building the pipeline to B.C. (which I forgot to put in but will in just a minute!). It’s as slick a production as anything Exxon or Chevron could do.

Link is in there now. SMH

@1 and 2 — the per barrel price right now is on the cusp of making the undigested dinosaur sludge from the tar sands non-feasible.

The alternative for a refinery is on the coast near Vancouver and do you think they want this stuff any where near that beautiful city?

The reason they don’t want to build a refinery out in the middle of Mouseturd, Canada, or for that matter Montana or North Crotchrot Dakota is that there are so many grades of product that come out of the refining process it becomes cost prohibitive to then ship it — so what do you do with it? There are all kinds of grades of product like the really dirty, heavy stuff that goes into asphalt for example. It’s better to be near a port so the stuff can just be onloaded to a tanker and shipped to Asia where all this stuff is going any way.

I forget, but there are a bunch of different products like 12 or 17 different products that are lifted during the refining process. Like with anything else, it comes down to an economic analysis on return on the product.

@7: Now isn’t this a shame? As someone who lived in a place where there were two oil refineries, I should have remembered about the multiple products they get out of a barrel of oil.

Thanks for all the helpful explanations. I have a niece in Vancouver…she married a Canadian. It took a lot of time and money (lawyers) for her and her kids to get residence status for some reason. She loves it there.

@9: I’ve never been there but from the photos I’ve seen it looks beautiful.

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