Thursday, June 21, 2012

You are in favor of the Keystone Pipeline, right?

You should continue to be, because these statistics show such a pipeline is the best way to transport fuels

Pipelines: The Safest Way to Move Fuel By Diana Furchtgott-Roth
June 21, 2012

The administration appears unwavering in its decision to block construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada, our closest trading partner, to American refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The relative safety of pipelines vis-à-vis road and rail to transport oil and gas is a topic of preeminent importance. Data published by the U.S. Department of Transportation clearly show that pipelines have lower injury and fatality rates than road and rail, in addition to enjoying a substantial cost advantage.

These findings have substantial relevance for America's energy future. Petroleum production in North America (Mexico, Canada, and the United States) is now over 16 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Agency, and could climb to 27 million barrels a day by 2020. Natural gas production in Canada and the United States could rise by a third over the same period, climbing to 22 billion cubic feet per day.

This oil and gas will have to travel to where it is needed. Whether it is produced in Canada, Alaska, North Dakota, or the Gulf of Mexico, it will be used all over the country, especially since new environmental regulations are resulting in the rapid closures of coal-fired power plants. Large fleets of buses and trucks are switching to natural gas, General Motors and Chrysler are making dual-fuel pickup trucks, and newspapers are speculating about the timing of natural gas passenger vehicles for the American market.

The obvious solution is pipelines, which result in fewer fatalities, injuries, and environmental damage than road and rail. Already almost 500,000 miles of interstate pipeline crisscross America, carrying crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. The network of pipelines has a remarkable safety record. Americans are more likely to get struck by lightning than to get killed in a pipeline accident.

America has 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore petroleum pipeline and 321,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering pipeline. In addition, over 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipeline send natural gas to businesses and consumers. This is expected to increase as America shifts to natural gas to take advantage of low prices that are expected to last into the foreseeable future.

Pipeline transportation of oil and gas is safer than transportation by road and rail. Pipelines are the primary mode of transportation for crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Approximately 71 percent of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline on a ton-mile basis. Tanker and barge traffic accounts for approximately 22 percent of oil shipments. Trucking accounts for 4 percent of shipments, and rail for the remaining 3 percent. Essentially all dry natural gas is shipped by pipeline to end users.

If safety and environmental damages in the transportation of oil and gas were proportionate to the volume of shipments, one would expect that the vast majority of damages to occur on pipelines. But the opposite is true: the majority of incidents occur on road and rail.

Data on pipeline safety are available from the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Office of Pipeline Safety (PHMSA). Operators report to PHMSA any incident that crosses a certain safety threshold. These reports enable the public to calculate the safety of pipelines in comparison to road and rail.

The Transportation Department has compared the incident, injury, and fatality rates for oil and gas pipelines with transportation by road and rail for the period 2005 through 2009. Road and rail have higher rates of serious incidents, injuries, and fatalities than pipelines, even though more road and rail incidents go unreported.

Rail had the highest rate of incidents, with 651 per billion ton miles per year. This was followed by road, with 20 per billion ton miles per year. Natural gas transmission came next, with 0.89 per billion ton miles. Oil products were the safest, with 0.61 serious incidents per billion ton miles.

With respect to pipeline systems, natural gas transmission lines had the lowest average fatality rate for operator personnel and the general public between 2005 and 2009, with a rate of one person killed per year. This was followed by oil and rail, with an average of 2.4 people per year. The highest is road, with an average of 10.2 people a year.

To draw another comparison, according to the National Weather Service there was an average of 39 reported deaths annually caused by lightning from 2001 through 2010. From 1992 to 2011 fatalities related to pipeline incidents were about 20 per year. An individual had about twice the chance of getting killed by lightning as being killed in a pipeline incident.

Injury rates, defined as numbers of people hospitalized, show a similar pattern. On average, annual injuries for 2005 through 2009 were lowest for oil, at 4 people per year, and natural gas, at 6.2 people per year. The rate was highest for rail, at 25.6 people per year; although this number was heavily biased by the 2005 observation. Road accidents were 21.8 people per year, on average.

Some claim that pipelines carrying Canadian oil sands crude, known as diluted bitumen, have more internal corrosion, and are subject to more incidents. However, PHMSA data show no incidents of oil releases from corrosion from Canadian diluted bitumen between 2002 and 2010. Oil sands crude has been transported in American pipelines for the past decade.

Pipeline safety matters because America continues to ramp up production of oil and natural gas. We need better pipelines to get oil from North Dakota to the refineries in the Gulf, and natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania (and New York, should the State allow production to move forward) and the Utica Shale in Ohio to the rest of the country.

In the next few years, the administration may allow more states to explore for oil offshore. In addition, Congress might vote to give coastal areas a share of oil drilling revenue, providing a powerful incentive for more drilling. Congress could also form a liability risk pool to allow independents to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In order for these resources to get where they are needed, we need more pipelines-the safest way to move fuel.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Want to Change Your "Consumption Patterns?"

Listen to Agenda 21 and "benevolent" government may force you to!

Read the warnings of CARE favorite Dreissen and Duggan Flanakin 

"Sustainable justice" = redistribution of scarcity 

The UN Rio+20 agenda means less freedom, happiness, true justice and human rights progress

Paul Driessen and Duggan Flanakin

Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised that his Administration would "fundamentally transform the United States of America."  He gave a clue to exactly what he had in mind when he told now-congressional candidate Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher: "When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."

Not necessarily – especially when activists, regulators, politicians and ruling elites do all they can to ensure there is less and less wealth to spread around.

Just this week, the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives released a new report to the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development. The executive summary of No Future Without Justice begins with the heading, "The World Is in Need of Fundamental Change." The document then offers "solutions," which include "universal fiscal equalization" and a "massive and absolute decoupling of well-being from resource extraction and consumption."

The 18-member Group includes no Americans – but condemns the US and other governments for their dedication to economic growth, rather than wealth redistribution, and demands that governments play a key role in promoting "sustainability" and welfare. They insist that all governments provide universal access to public health care, guaranteed state allowances for every child, guaranteed state support for the unemployed and underemployed, and basic universal pensions and universal social security.

It is, in short, the total nanny state – but with little or no resource extraction or economic growth to support it. In other words, it guarantees sustained injustice and redistribution of increasing scarcity.

The Group admits that human civilization "will still need some form of growth in large parts of the world, to expand the frontiers of maximum available resources for poor countries." However, the massive investments needed to shift to a totally renewable energy and resource-based economy will require "massive de-growth (shrinkage) of products, sectors and activities that do not pass the sustainability test" – as devised by them, affiliated organizations and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Key financial support for the push toward "sustainability" includes a "greener" and "more progressive" tax system featuring a financial transaction tax, abolition of subsidies for all but renewable energy, cutting military spending while dramatically increasing "stimulus" spending, a compensation scheme to pay off "climate debts" to poor countries supposedly impacted by hydrocarbon-driven climate change, a new regulatory framework for financial markets, a financial product safety commission, and still more regulations for hedge funds and private equity funds. The Group also demands public control of financial rating agencies and a government takeover of international accounting standards.

To ensure that "sustainable development" permeates every aspect of society, the Group proposes a new "Sherpa" for Sustainability (with cabinet rank), a parliamentary committee on policy coherence for sustainability, a UN Sustainability Council, a Universal Periodic Review on Sustainability, and an Ombudsman for Intergenerational Justice and Future Generations. It also proposes an International Panel on Sustainability that builds on the "success" of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Of course, guiding all this would be the world’s premiere political body and bastion of freedom, fairness, democracy and human rights – the UN General Assembly.

To guide this "fundamental" shift toward the sustainability paradigm, the Group laid down eight principles – the key being the "precautionary principle," which forbids any activity that might involve risk or "do harm." Its own sustainability prescriptions are, of course, exempted from any reviews under the precautionary principle.

The objective, they state, is to build economies that drastically limit carbon emissions, energy consumption, primary resource extraction, waste generation, and air and water pollution. Society must also stop the asserted and computer-modeled loss of species and ruination of ecosystems.
All this naturally will require mandatory changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles (at least for the common folk), and the recognition that work (unlike capital) is not a production factor. Indeed, says the Group, work is not even a commodity. Moreover, only "decent" work qualifies under the sustainability paradigm. (While "decent work" is never defined, it presumably includes backbreaking sunup-to-sundown labor at subsistence farming, which under the Group’s agenda would be called "traditional" or "organic" farming and would not be replaced by modern mechanized agriculture.)

What is the source of all of this gobbledygook? Agenda 21, the centerpiece of the original Rio Earth Summit – which is being perpetuated, refined and redefined at parallel proceedings in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, while the main sustainability discussions are ongoing in Rio de Janeiro.

Agenda 21 states, for example, that "achieving the goals of environmental quality and sustainable development will require ... changes in consumption patterns." This too would be achieved under UN auspices because, as Earth Summit creator Maurice Strong has explained, the days of national sovereignty are over, and the world needs to embrace a system of wealth transfer to ensure environmental security.

In short, "sustainable development" is a system that requires a redefinition of business activity, away from the pursuit of personal profit – and of government activity, away from the pursuit of individual happiness and justice – and toward the pursuit of societal good, as defined by activists and the UN.

Simply put, as Brian Sussman points out in his new book, Eco-Tyranny, the ultimate goal of those who endorse the sustainability paradigm is to expunge "the most precious" rights expressed in the American Declaration of Independence: "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."

The Agenda 21 and sustainability paradigm also rejects and undermines Adam Smith’s belief that mankind’s natural tendency toward self-interest, profit and self-improvement results in greater prosperity, opportunity, health, welfare and justice for all.

Most of all, the UN/Maurice Strong/ Civil Society Reflection Group vision is merely the latest embodiment of Plato’s Republic. Under Plato’s thesis, an educated, elite, but benevolent and mythical, ruling class acts on the belief that its self-appointed philosopher kings have all the right answers, and do not require the Consent of the Governed. The rest of humanity must fall into lockstep or face the consequences; however the results will be exemplary.

Unfortunately, as Alexander Hamilton observed, men are not angels. Moreover, it defies experience and common sense to suppose that the elitist UN, UNEP and environmental activist community will ever display wisdom detached from ardent ideology – or benevolence toward the humans they seek to govern.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. Duggan Flanakin is director of research and international programs for CFACT.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Should the U.S. Government Subsidize Corn Ethanol?
Read CARE favorite Dennis Avery to find out why it should not.

JUNE 5, 2012
 CORN Ethanol AND a non-warming Earth BY DENNIS T. AVERY

CHURCHVILLE, VA—The earth has failed to warm at all for 15 years now, and American farmers are afraid of losing the “renewable fuel” mandate for corn ethanol—which has given them record crop prices and incomes since 2007. So, they’re proposing a new entitlement designed to ensure that they’ll never lose money again. Their proposed new federal farm bill would guarantee that farmers’ incomes don’t decline—and if future farm prices rise even more, the Feds’ guarantee would ratchet up too.

Thus, if Congress should decide the planet isn’t parboiling itself after all, the taxpayers would be on the hook for even more farm subsidy than today. Forget about that federal debt problem. Everyone else can pitch in to cut government spending, but farmers shouldn’t have to. Never mind that they’re now earning more than the average American, and have far more net worth.  

Bruce Babcock at Iowa State says the new program could give farmers $8 to $14 billion per year, compared to the $5 billion they’ve been getting in direct subsidy payments— on top of their ethanol subsidies. And if they lose the ethanol mandate, and crop prices fall, the government direct payments will get even bigger.

Gasoline prices have doubled under Obama. Even so, the 10 percent ethanol that the EPA forces into our gasoline—“to save the planet” from fossil fuels—still costs even more than the gasoline. While delivering 35 percent fewer miles per gallon. Recently, the EPA approved mixing even more ethanol into our gas—15 percent instead of 10. Automakers warn they cannot stand behind their engine guarantees at the higher blending rate.

Meanwhile, food prices have soared almost as much as gas prices and for the same reason. As we divert more of our corn from cereals and livestock feed to low-grade auto fuel, we’ve created an instant global food shortage. The price of corn was under $2 per bushel in 2007, but has since averaged nearer to $7. Farmers are making so much money they’ve bid up their own land prices to record levels. Thus they raise their own costs to match their payments.

But aren’t we saving the planet? Nope, not even that. Producing a gallon of corn ethanol produces almost the same level of carbon in the atmosphere as burning gasoline. Moreover, instead of temperatures soaring upward, as the environmentalists claimed they would, the earth’s temperatures have gone down since 2007.

The Arctic ice is returning, as the Russians predicted it would due to the 70-year Arctic Ocean cycle. The Antarctic has been cooling since the 1960s. The greenhouse theory said both poles would melt as CO2 levels rose, but neither has. The Polar bears are at least 600,000 years old, which means they’ve already been though five warm interglacials with open water at the North Pole. The seals must bask on the beaches, instead of on the ice, and the bears romp down to catch them anyway.

So why subsidize corn ethanol?  

I grew up on a farm, and have worked with farmers all my life. As a group, they are my heroes; but, while corn ethanol over-rewards crop farmers, it penalizes livestock farmers. (driving up the cost of hamburgers and chicken tenders). It’s a wash as far as farm belt votes are concerned. Corn ethanol, unfortunately, is the worst farm program ever conceived because it raises gas and food prices simultaneously.

And, now that we’ve discovered shale gas and oil, guess who’ll get a royalty on every cubic foot of shale gas that gets pumped up from below? Answer: The farmers who own the land above the gas. That reward may go to a different set of farmers, but they’re all equally deserving, right? More to the point, they will all bid their own land values up until they can’t make a profit even at $7 per corn bushel.

What will the senators do to ensure their re-election then?

Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 2442; email to Visit our website at www.