Obama uses Executive Order to move on Keystone alternative
WASHINGTON ─ Citing ‘far-reaching’ and ‘drastic’ environmental concerns, President Obama this week vetoed legislation approving construction of the proposed 1,179 mile Keystone XL Pipeline and immediately approved, by Executive Order, construction of a more environmentally sound “Oil Ditch” to run from Canada to Texas.
In fact, environmentalists cheered the plan. Thomas Cuddler, President of Earth Love First (ELF), the most vocal and, some say vociferous, of the environmental groups opposing the pipeline, called the President’s plan “the greatest imaginable gift to the Earth Mother.”
“Finally,” he shouted, throwing his arms in the air, “a plan we can wrap our arms around. Until we can ban oil altogether, at least now we can transport it safely through a system that the greedy big oil companies can’t sabotage with substandard materials and parts just to boost their bottom line.”
Oil industry spokesman Vernon Blackwater called the plan an economic disaster: “We’ve studied open air systems before, and they are all totally unfeasible from an economic standpoint. Refineries simply don’t have systems in place to filter out everything that will find its way into the oil on its way south. Can you imagine what a dead cow would do to our equipment? It will cost billions to retool our refineries. The whole thing is ludicrous, a disaster.”
Open air systems have not been used to transport crude oil for nearly 20,000 years, when early humans used them to direct the oil that bubbled to the surface into holding ponds that they could set on fire to warm themselves through the intermittent ice ages that plagued early human history, a technique possibly alluded to in Senator James Risch’s (R-ID) response to the President’s executive order:
“Primitive, that’s what it is. That’s what I would expect from this President. It’s just Neanderthal. Maybe we should just spray the oil into the air and let the wind carry it to Texas.”
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D–CA) praised the plan as farsighted: “The President is investing in the future. This is a delivery system that will last for geologic time. No parts, no repairs, just oil moving inexorably south through the ages. That is what I call progress.”
Public reaction has been mixed. Some question the plan’s safety, while others applaud its simplicity.
Writing into a public comments website about the proposal, one woman in Nebraska asked: “Will they build a fence around it so kids can’t play in it? Have you ever tried to get heavy crude out of a pair of pants?”
One Oklahoma man cited the convenience: “Hell yeah! Free oil! Now THAT’S democracy, man!”
Oil industry analysts claim the proposal will be paid for at the gas pump. Not only the filtering requirements cited earlier, but volume can be an issue as well. Some experts calculate that a ‘gravity feed’ system such as the open ditch plan will take three to four hundred times longer to reach its destination than a conventional pipeline.
“This will be a problem,” stated Michael Sturtz of Oil Watch, a petroleum industry clearinghouse for petroleum-related science and research. “Crude oil doesn’t splash its way merrily downhill like a babbling brook. It is much more viscous. Refining systems calculate input in thousands of gallons per hour, not teaspoons.”
Robert Schmirtz of Friends of the Planet disagreed. “That’s ridiculous. Haven’t you ever looked at a globe? Canada is WAY uphill from Texas.”
Frank Kramer, President of PetroCal and one of the industry’s most authoritative spokesmen put his company’s concerns succinctly: “Okay Mr. President, I get my oil out of the bottom of the ocean. Dig me a ditch.”