Tag: pipeline

No good martinis today, but join Jim and Greg as they react to the Biden administration urging employers to mandate vaccinations regardless of how courts rule on the new OSHA rule. They also fume as Biden considers shutting down a key Great Lakes pipeline even though energy prices are set to skyrocket this winter. And they wade into the bizarre internet guessing game of where California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been for the past two weeks.

 

The Fuel Shortage That Is and Is Not

 

Colonial Pipeline InfoColonial Pipeline announced Wednesday, May 12, that they had initiated pipeline restart and that complete service restoration over their entire pipeline network would take several days. This signals the near-term end to the regional fuel distribution disruption triggered May 7, when a ransomware attack was detected and the corporation shut down their multi-fuel pipeline system. However, there will continue to be gas stations with empty storage tanks for the next several days, perhaps for the next week. And. There is no fuel shortage at the system/regional level. There is a real shortage and there is no shortage. Both are true. I explain.

Background

While unstated, Colonial acted to prevent potential catastrophic sabotage, in the form of massive breaks in the pipeline or damage to pump systems along the pipeline. They had dealt last summer with a gasoline spill in Huntersville, NC. Colonial did exactly the right thing.

From the Government, and Here to Help

 

Secretary of Energy Prevention, Jennifer Granholm has, predictably, come out squarely against a free market in energy. “We expect that [gasoline] station owners are and should act responsibly. We will have no tolerance for price-gouging. Federal and state officials will be investigating those actions if we see price-gouging.”

Secretary Granholm has made it clear that the Biden administration enthusiastically endorses shortages, rather than free-market adjustments, which result in scarcer goods being rationed by higher prices. After all, gas station owners, who usually make between 1 and 3 cents per gallon on the gasoline that serves as an advertisement for Kool Filter Kings and Slim Jims, number among the millionaires and billionaires decried by the Democratic party’s most influential members.

Jim and Greg discuss Glenn Youngkin winning the GOP nomination for governor in Virginia and whether the GOP can still win there. They also react to gas stations along the east coast running out of fuel due to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown and the weak response from the White House. And they throw up their hands as the New York Times points out what many knew intuitively – that outdoor transmission of COVID is extremely unlikely. So was the CDC very wrong or hiding the truth?

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer Texas lawmakers or advancing legislation on several key conservative priorities. They also discuss the cyber attack that shut down a key fuel pipeline to the eastern U.S. They break down the latest scandal engulfing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And they remember the wit and conservative wisdom of the late Pete du Pont.

Biden Goes Deep Green

 

It is amazing the difference that four years can make in environmental policy. On January 24, 2017, at the outset of his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order that salvaged the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from the Obama administration’s planned obstructionism. Obama had sought to upset the string of administrative approvals that the project obtained at both the federal and state levels. DAPL runs about 1,100 miles from the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, where it is able to carry, far below ground, about 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Trump’s action allowed Congress to vote on whether to grant the last federal easement needed for the pipeline to proceed.

DAPL is now in service, even as litigation to shut it down continues. Environmental groups continue to allege attenuated theories of adverse effects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Their efforts are consistent with the common practice among environmentalists of paying inordinate attention to highly remote contingencies while completely ignoring the large and immediate safety and efficiency advantages of getting crude oil to both domestic and foreign markets via DAPL. More concretely, the chances that any crude oil shipped by DAPL will escape in sufficient quantities to damage the fishing or water rights of the Standing Rock Sioux have always been infinitesimal, which is why the pipeline operations have caused no such harm for the past three years. The overall soundness of the pipeline grid will become truly dire if DAPL is shut down while Keystone is left incomplete.

For the moment, however, the immediate threat is to the Keystone pipeline. On January 20, President Biden issued an executive order aimed at “Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” One component of his major order was to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline started some twelve years ago, but since that time it has been beset with legal challenges, including one in May 2020 in which a Montana judge yanked the pipeline’s permit on the grounds that the Army Corps of Engineers had not consulted sufficiently with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the alleged risks that the pipeline posed to endangered species and their habitat. Such orders overlook the benefits from that pipeline, which include its ability to ship up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Alberta sands to American refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Our Precarious Pipeline Infrastructure

 

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association. In that case, the Fourth Circuit, speaking through Judge Stephanie Thacker, found multiple reasons to block the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic) from building, operating, and maintaining its 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.

That (ACL) pipeline, capable of transporting 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, would run along a 604.5-mile route from West Virginia to eastern portions of Virginia and North Carolina. It would have to be routed underneath the Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail that runs about 2,000 miles from Mount Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mountain, Georgia. Like all pipelines, some portion of the ACP will have to be built over treacherous terrain, carrying with it two inescapable environmental risks—damage during construction, and rupture and leakage during operation.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), construction of the pipeline has to go through an intensive review process that details all the positives and negatives of each phase involved in the pipeline’s construction, operation, and maintenance. NEPA imposes no independent review requirement, but leaves agencies free to make whatever substantive decisions they see fit. And until that laborious process runs its course, project construction is generally not allowed to begin.

New York’s Pipeline Fiasco

 

New York faces serious energy shortages today, largely due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s insistence on banning fracking and blocking construction of new pipelines to import cheap natural gas from outside the state. He hopes to wean the state off of fossil fuels, which are said to drive global warming. Though the evidence concerning global warming and its deleterious consequences is quite thin, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the dire predictions of climate disaster are correct. If so, it becomes even more imperative to pick both the right sources of energy and the right way to get them to market.  Solar and wind are too erratic to do the job, so we have to depend on some form of fossil fuel. Natural gas is high on that list. Unfortunately, the retrograde environmental policies of politicians like Cuomo is a key reason why New York faces an escalating energy predicament.

Today’s deep fear of climate change unthinkingly translates into abiding hostility toward any new technology for extracting and shipping fossil fuels. This regressive approach gets it backwards. As a rule of thumb, every new technological breakthrough results in higher levels of production with lower levels of risk. Therefore, it follows that we should encourage the displacement of old technology to capture these gains. The ideal way to proceed considers both the amount of pollution taken out of circulation and the amount of pollution added.

In most cases, new technology is better in every relevant dimension. Accordingly, the process of permit review under both federal and state environmental statutes should apply the same output measure to both systems and approve any permit for new technology that takes older technology offline. It should be evident that the easiest targets for displacement are the oldest, and least efficient, facilities.

Environmental Protectionism Run Amok

 

The House Natural Resources Committee is conducting an ongoing examination of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA). President Richard Nixon signed NEPA, often hailed as the Magna Carta of environmental law, to great fanfare in 1970. The legislation contains two key provisions. Section 101 sets out in broad terms Congress’s “continuing policy” to require federal, state, and local governments “to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony” for the benefit of “present and future generations.” The law envisions the government acting as a “trustee of the environment,” charged with ensuring that the environment is used “without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Next, section 102 specifies a set of procedures by which all government agencies must prepare statements to accompany “proposals for legislation or other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” These statements must include a general assessment of the project’s environmental effect, coupled with an analysis of “adverse environmental impacts which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented.” NEPA contains no substantive requirements, but it does force government agencies to ensure that the proposed project meets the substantive standards of statutes such as the Clean Water Act. The agency must, therefore, point out any “irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources” on program implementation, with a view to examining alternative plans that meet these standards.

Under current law, the government agency must decide whether it should file an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In doubtful cases, the agency prepares an abbreviated Environmental Assessment (EA). If that EA makes a finding of no significant impact, or FONSI, then no further steps need to be taken. But if it finds that there is a significant impact, then the agency has to prepare a detailed EIS to establish that the proposed project meets the applicable substantive standards.

Member Post

 

Cannon Ball, North Dakota Just as Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners thought they had dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s on their $3.8 Billion oil pipeline project, including the years it took to aquire every piece of land–in four states–along its 1,172 mile long route, a SJW-come-political appointee in the Interior Department killed the […]

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