We traveled for two and a half days by road to fish in the Blackfeet Nation in Montana for big feisty trout.
But the damn trains would not allow it! Yes, I said the damn trains.
Trains filled with Canadian oil were miles long and these trains would block the crossing preventing us from reaching our fishing spots. What a bite, or lack of a bite that is!
These trains would regularly block the Empire Builder passenger trains for hours while they waited for the crude oil trains to pass. While in the small town of East Glacier one could regularly hear the incensed passengers that made the mistake to take the train to the area and had to wait on a siding. In many cases, they waited for many hours to reach their destination.
But “that ain’t the half of it!”
Due to a wealthy person buying the railroad that the oil was transported by; he was able to protect his transport business. Would you be surprised if this wealthy person was a big donor to the political group also opposed to the Keystone Pipeline?
Let me offer a somewhat boring study by Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Research with contributions from Carnegie Mellon U., University of Pittsburgh, Tepper School of Business, and others. Here is a report on their findings: www.cmu.edu/energy/news-multimedia/2017/petroleum-shipping-costs.html
“Using data of crude oil transported out of North Dakota in 2014, Muller says the team found ‘that air pollution and greenhouse gas costs of shipping crude oil by rail are much larger than spill and accident costs.’”
And, as referenced in the paper, the costs are high. For instance, “Air pollution and greenhouse gas costs of moving a fully loaded 100-car train of crude oil from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast is about $150,000 and from North Dakota to the East Coast are $210,000. The total estimated air pollution and greenhouse gas damages for oil shipped by rail from North Dakota in 2014 exceed $420 million.” Diesel train engines pollution is much greater than any pipeline.
All the while, not one word by the media that trains transporting crude oil are far worse for the environment than a pipeline ever has been. And not just by a small amount. In addition, due to the closing of the Keystone Pipeline, the train business to transport this oil is booming.
Did the closing of the Keystone cause any refinery to close? No. They are still, and will still, get their oil. But our price of gasoline will go up due to the higher costs of transporting it via trains.
I also am miffed by the fact that the Chinese are playing the US as suckers. We are doing little to ensure better reliability of electricity compared to them. They are opening many new coal-fired plants to assure their citizens of more and better reliability for their electricity needs via new “clean coal plants.” (Clean coal is also straight out false).
Leave it to the Germans to organize a better way. Here is some good news from them that was recently published:
Heise.de, a German tech news publisher, reports that wind has replaced coal as the main source of power in Germany. From the report: “The share of renewable energies in the amount of electricity generated and fed into the grid domestically rose from 42.3% in 2019 to 47.0% last year. At 25.6%, wind power was the first renewable energy source to have the highest share of the amount of electricity fed into the grid in a given year, replacing coal as the most important energy source.
While the Germans are exiting nuclear, the French get over 70% of their electricity from nuclear. The French get the highest percentage of their power from nuclear of any country in the world.
So there are some who are leaders doing their part!
When we were in China we could not see clearly for the smog. Remember that term “smog.” They have it big time. But they are indeed attempting to clean it up.
Here is a suggestion to balance out the unfair trade with China. This might in fact help clean up the world. Instead of being taken as suckers, create a deal to reduce the US trade tariffs on China in relation to their reducing their carbon footprint. It will be amazing how fast the money people will ignore this simple solution to keep American citizens from being bilked as usual by international agreements that China, India, Iran and Russia who are often slow to comply.