Weekend Open Thread

“Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.”

–Marcus Aurelius

31 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Kind of long- winded, ain't cha?

  2. Duke Cox says:

    It was a slow morning at the landfill, too, today. 😉

  3. kwtree says:

    10 Heated oil trains through the Rockies, Denver, and through Glenwood Canyon- what could possibly go wrong?- Chase Woodruff, Colorado Newsline

    At least 21 oil train derailments have occurred in the U.S. and Canada since 2013, according to a 2021 report from the nonprofit Sightline Institute. Such incidents frequently result in fires and spills, including the 2016 derailment of an oil train in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, in which an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled.

    Colorado has had its share of oil train derailments and fires, including many in Northern Colorado, like this one in 2014. Between the oil trains and the standing oil tank and battery fires, the air is often smoky, and the public officials tend to say as little as they can get away with. Evacuations are expensive, and someone’s head will surely roll.. And Colorado doesn’t have any problems with wildfires, right?

    Biden approved the Utah train permit, giving Pear a raging case of cognitive dissonance ( More Oil good, Biden Bad🤷‍♂️). Hick and Bennett have “concerns”. Eagle County is suing. Glenwood Springs is agin it. The Forest Service is all in, even though a protected area will be bulldozed. Moddy sez yay.

    I can’t find any opportunity for public comment, but the lawsuits are ongoing, so I hope this bad idea goes down the memory hole, instead of up in smoke.


    • JohnInDenver says:

      A bit of context?  Assuming I didn’t fat finger my calculator, ten 2-mile long trains would mean …  “A one mile long train of 60′ cars would come to 85”  85x2x10 is 1700 cars per day and 365 days would be 620,500 cars per year. 

      Terminated carloads of crude oil on U.S. Class I railroads rose from 9,344 in 2008 to a peak of 540,383 in 2014 before falling sharply and then rising again, in part because of large volumes of crude oil originated in Canada and shipped by rail to refineries in the United States. In 2021, U.S. Class I railroads terminated 236,069 carloads of crude oil. 

      Any assurance that the line will handle 115% of the peak year for the entire country?  More than 2.5 times the number of cars in 2021 for the entire country?

      “At least 21 oil train derailments have occurred in the U.S. and Canada since 2013, according to a 2021 report ”  — 3 per year doesn’t seem like a huge deal  Size of the industry by “trains” confuses me, but my calculator says that even if all the cars were concentrated into 2 mile long trains, that would be 3 accidents per 1389 trains, or 0.2%.  

      The Colorado example you link to says “6 cars jumped the track. Only one tanker leaked. But one Colorado report on the derailment said that the leaking tanker carried 28,000 gallons of oil. The Union Pacific Railroad said only 6,500 gallons of oil had leaked.”  Again, significant, but doesn’t seem TOO devastating.

      By contrast:  one story in the Denver Post described

      more than 16,000 barrels of energy development material — oil, condensate, water used in fracking and other substances — leaked and spilled across the state in 2018, according to a report by the center.

      The fluids were released by 596 oil and gas-related spills, including several dozen in the Erie and Carbon Valley areas encompassing a southwestern portion of Weld County over the year, the Center for Western Priorities report said.

      each barrel is 42 gallons, — so 672,000 gallons REPORTED in one state in one year.

      I’m all for safety, and there is no doubt reason for concern with ANYTHING going through Glenwood Canyon —  but it doesn’t cause me the same level of concern as a number of other environmental hazards.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        47 people died in the Lac-Megantic oil train rail derailment disaster on July 6, 2013, John. Even one derailment per year can make a huge difference.

        There is no reason this project can't connect into the Union Pacific and run southwest through Utah, to Vegas, and then onto the LA area. No reason at all to bring it east along the Colorado River and through the Moffat Tunnel.

        • Voyageur says:

          And 42,915 people died in U.S. auto accidents last year, CHB.

          Clearly, it is time for a total ban on private automobiles, which incidentally eliminates the need for train tank cars.

          Now, how do I get you on a bicycle?

          • kwtree says:

            CHB climbs fourteeners for fun. I suspect he can handle himself on a bicycle.

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            Unfortunately, VG, you're missing the points and missing the boat.

            • Voyageur says:

              Not really, CHB.  You want a world in which everyone uses prodigious amounts of energy but in which no one is allowed to produce energy.  I devoted many years to fighting for RTD , bike lanes, car pools and ways to save this embattled planet.  Your NIMBYism is part of the problem.

              • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                NIMBYism? I think you need a couple shots of Jack Daniels to help ease into nighty-night time. As in, where did I say I don’t want anyone to produce energy?

                FWIW, I’m one of the 30,000 original subscribers to Xcel Energy’s Windsource program, meaning I get all my electricity from wind.

                Oh, and you don’t get me onto a bicycle. See my comment below.

        • JohnInDenver says:

          Arguing from extreme example — especially like Lac-Megantic, which had multiple factors leading to the disaster — isn't a particularly persuasive tactic with me.

          I continue to get on airplanes, despite "two Boeing 747 passenger jets collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport"  Total fatalities: 583.  Total survivors: 61. 


          • kwtree says:

            J i D, the Uintah Basin Railway ( UBR) project is an economic, climate, and environmental disaster all linked together and rattling down rhe tracks.

            Whether or not the rail transport piece of it is the most dangerous to public health and the environment is debatable. People who study such things say that pipelines are safer than rail or truck to transport oil. But of course, Coloradans would not allow a pipeline from the Uintah basin in Utah to Colorado, which isn’t even  the oil’s ultimate destination- it’s supposed to be going to global markets via the Gulf coast. Environmentalists nixed the Jordan Cove pipeline in Colorado,  for similar reasons.

            The rail transport piece concerns leaders responsible for protecting their constituents and lands:

            Communities along the Colorado route, including the city of Glenwood Springs, have written to U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper against the UBR, citing concerns about air quality, wildlife, water and public safety. Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes told Aspen Journalism that an accident or spill in Glenwood Canyon would be disastrous all the way to the Sea of Cortez. “To say it’s a far-fetched possibility, I think, is to ignore reality,” he said. “If that waxy crude that’s heated in order to stay viscous spills into our watershed and into the Colorado River, it would be a massive cleanup where they would have to remove tons of soil and debris.” 

            Do you think these leaders are “arguing from extremes”?

            But even if the oil were somehow transported safely through Colorado to Gulf refineries, it would still be a disaster for the climate and the environment:

            “It’s appalling that the board approved this climate-killing project and deeply undermined President Biden’s commitment to address the climate emergency,” said Deeda Seed, senior public lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t make progress toward a more stable climate when our government keeps lighting fuses on giant carbon bombs. The board’s action completely ignored the pollution that will directly result from this filthy railway, and that’s illegal.”

            The groups bringing today’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, say the board violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider that the proposed Uinta Basin Railway will spur increased oil production in the Uinta Basin — estimated at an additional 350,000 barrels a day — and carry up to 10 two-mile-long oil trains daily through the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf Coast.

            The board ignored the fact that extracting and processing this oil would add 53 million tons of carbon dioxide per year to the atmosphere, conflicting with its December conclusion that the railway is in the public interest.

            The recent SCOTUS decision says industries don’t have to weigh climate impacts in proposed projects. That was, you would probably agree, wrongly decided.

            And Utah taxpayers gave up (were bilked out of) 28 million of their community recovery funds to gift this lovely URB project to the rail and energy companies, the latter of which are happily screwing consumers at the gas pumps, and making record profits.

            All so we can have hot oil chugging through our wild and urban landscapes, bound for the Gulf of Mexico for energy industry profits. 

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              Two items for whatever they’re worth……..

              1) I submitted personal comments, meaning not representing any organization, opposing the Uinta Basin project. Why should Colorado take on potential for damage just so Utah can reap profits? I’m also reminded that when it comes to clout with the Utah governor, legislature, congressional delegation regarding protection of wild lands, several dozen rural county commissioners have more clout than do up to a million voters on the Wasatch Front.

              2) I have never been on a bicycle of any kind in my entire life.


          • Negev says:

            Based on the statistical threshold you provide JID I am surprised you are not advocating for cessna single seats….

            • Voyageur says:

              Nah, Cessnas use gasoline.  Our kiwi is a strictly helium balloon advocate.

              please don’t tell her we get most  of our helium from natural gas.  I can’t stand any more hectoring.

    • Blackie says:

      I fear another Lac Megantic, and hope it is not here in the Rockies or Denver area.

    • Blackie says:

      <Too many clicks on the keyboard this early in the morning.

  4. Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Fool me thrice, call me Chuck Schumer.

    Joe Manchin Defends Retreat on Climate and Tax Plans – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

    Apparently, he may be willing to work on a compromise come August or September ….


      • Voyageur says:

        I'm not sure this bombast can be characterized as "thoughts."

         More like a buffalo fart. 

      • DavidThi808 says:

        The person writing that blog is either high or stupid.

        First off, we get Joe Manchin in that seat or we get a Republican. Those are the choices.

        Second, Joe Manchin gives us Schumer running the Senate instead of McConnell. On that alone he's a deal worth accepting.

        • 2Jung2Die says:

          Third, he also votes for Biden's court nominees reliably well. That doesn't mean I don't call him "Charles Manchin" once in a while when I'm pissed.

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            Joe Manchin has also been the primary barrier in the Senate Dem caucus in resisting more reckless spending. Yes, there were things in Build Back Better that I wanted to see happen. But ponder what inflation would look like with an extra $1.9 to 2.5 trillion floating around in the economy?

            And that amount was a compromise, of sorts, Bernie originally wanted $5-6 trillion. I lost track of the original amount. But to paraphrase the late Everett Dirksen: "a trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking real money."

    • Duke Cox says:

      Lucy van Pelt syndrome. Pulling the ball, again….

      Manchin hails from an industry that invented “moving the goal posts”. He has worked into an art form.

  5. Dano says:

    Let’s all sing it: “How do you solve a problem like Joe Manchin?”

    The problem with Joe Manchin is he represents his state well. Sadly that is to the detriment of the other 49.

    He really has the Dems over a barrel because he knows they won’t primary him. If someone willing to tow the party line were to win that primary, they would surely lose in the general and then the GOP has a majority in the Senate again.

    The only solution is to widen the Dem majority in the Senate a bit and make him irrelevant. Tall order, but not impossible.

  6. Gilpin Guy says:

     I try not to think about how much talent and skill I lack as a writer but am thankful for the many writing companions that I already have on this blog and the fun of their unending insights and humor.  You are a wonderful source of inspiration to me even when I disagree with your facts or conclusions.

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