GOOD

Why Won’t Keystone XL Die?

Congress is trying to force approval of the pipeline—again.

Yesterday, for what seems like the zillionth time, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would force federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The House has tried this tactic at least once before, unsuccessfully. It’s a not-so-distant cousin of the one Congressional Republicans used to force President Obama to decide one way or the other on the pipeline permit earlier this year. The White House has indicated that the president would veto the bill—which would also continue transportation funding—if it contained a provision to rubber-stamp Keystone XL.


When the Obama administration rejected TransCanada’s permit application for Keystone XL back in January, that should have been the last anyone heard about the pipeline until the company submitted a new application for a new route. Instead, every few weeks, the issue has cropped up again and again. Why won’t the pipeline just go away already? A few reasons:

It’s an election year, and gas prices are high. Republicans in Congress keep raising the specter of Keystone XL because every time they do, they can goad the president into rejecting it all over again. Those rejections feed into political talking points: President Obama doesn’t care about creating jobs in America. President Obama doesn’t care about high gas prices. It doesn’t matter that the pipeline’s potential as a job creator has been overblown and pumping more oil from Canada to Texas won’t cut gas prices. Republicans candidates have made the argument that energy development and Keystone XL mean jobs, and they’re sticking with it.

President Obama is guilty of drawing these specious connections too. While he has pointed out that more drilling won’t drop prices, he has also ordered that the southern portion of the pipeline be approved with all due haste. Gas prices are high, after all, and even as he acknowledges he can’t really change that, he has to do something.

Nebraska politicians are on board with the new route. When climate advocates first started fighting against Keystone XL, they emphasized the huge amounts of carbon that lay at one end of the pipeline, in Canada’s tar sands. But that’s not why the Obama administration rejected the pipeline’s permit—its primary concern was the pipeline’s route through Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Ogallala Aquifer.

TransCanada was already working on a new route when Congress pushed the administration to decide one way or another on the permit application. Although the State Department rejected that application, the company is at work on a new one, featuring the updated route. Politicians in Nebraska—including the state’s Republican governor—had expressed reservations about the old route, but they’re so supportive of the new one that last week they passed a bill to speed up environmental approvals.

Oil companies are depending on the pipeline. On the coast of Texas and Louisiana, oil companies have already invested in refineries to process the oil that Keystone XL is supposed to bring down. In Port Arthur, for instance, Motiva—a joint project of Shell and Aramco—has sunk billions of dollars into expanding a refinery to process more than 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Operating at capacity would make it the largest refinery in the country.

These investments don’t guarantee that Keystone XL will be built. But they do give oil companies that much more of an incentive to push and pull at politicians until the approval goes through. Last year, petroleum products were the country’s largest export, and for some in Washington, that’s enough to justify dredging up Keystone XL until it becomes reality.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user NOAA's National Ocean Service

Articles
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News