Koch and a Christian: the Faux Pipeline to Prosperity

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

They're spending millions to win over an increasingly skeptical America.  A campaign promoting Canada as a reliable supplier of oil and a “world environmental leader” in the field of oil and gas development. Never mind that a vast amount of their tar sands are now owned by China.  Forget the fact that China is choking on its own pollution at home. Forget for one moment this pipeline has almost nothing related to being "American": jobs, energy security or economics.  According to TransCanada, the amount of permanent jobs created would be only in the hundreds. That's right. Not thousands. Or tens of thousands. Or hundreds of thousands.  A few hundred.

In contrast, the US ethanol industry as it exists today – even while under attack by Big Oil to roll back our Renewable Fuels Standard – employees in excess of 87,000 direct employees.  In 2012, ethanol contributed $43.4 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and added $30.2 billion to household income.

Let's take that home-grown success to a new level.  In 2005 the Bush Administration commissioned a study of the annual waste biomass resources available in the US.  It was known as "The Technical Feasibility of a Billion Ton Annual Supply" .  In 2011 that study was updated, showing we had well in-excess of a billion tons available annual.  Biomass waste that would not compete with a food or animal feed supply.  Waste that could be transformed in to next-generation, advanced biofuels.

So here's the point you should remember if you take away nothing else from this diary: if we simply converted 17% of this known biomass waste annually to biofuels, we would produce 3x more liquid fuel than what would flow through the proposed KeystoneXL pipline.

Wrap your arms around that for a minute.  We could buy in to the notion that the world needs Canadian tar sands – produce a few hundred permanent jobs – or we could expand an already-existing US infrastructure, create 100's of thousands of new jobs, provide an environmentally-superior product to China – and create a rural renaissance in the process?

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says biofuels are critical to rural America's survival.  He'd be right. I can predict a robust debate with anti-biofuel proponents on the merits, or lack thereof, of this fuel supply – but let's save that for a separate diary.

So you'd think these dots would be easy to connect? What's not to like? The answer lies in who, besides the Chinese, controls the bulk of the tar sands geography.  Forget they've lied to Congress about their 'interests' in the pipeline.  Forget for a moment they've donated $120 million to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change.  Forget that they support ALEC and their efforts to roll back state-based renewable portfolio standards.  All of them. Forget they funded the effort to shutdown our government – and then claimed they didn't when caught like a kid with his hand in the proverbial Boehner cookie jar.

Of course, we'd like to believe the Koch Brothers, "Americans for Prosperity" really wants all of us to be, well, "prosperous".  And I'd like to believe that my Congressman isn't a wholly-owned subsidiary. Or that when House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., tasked four GOP members of his panel to take the lead on reforming a federal biofuels mandate, including my Congressman, that they'd actually find common ground between the interests of Koch, Inc. and an expanding ethanol industry. 

It's of little surprise that Cory's response to the failure of the panel was "nuanced".

But enough about those boys who want us to be "prosperous" for just a moment.  Let's talk for a minute about Canadians and Christians.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Canadians. I just wish they would spend half-as-much political and financial capital focusing on something better than boiling tar. And I consider myself a Christian, albeit a failed one when  measured by today's Christian standards. Most days I just hope the grace outweighs the guilt.

And now you're wondering where I'm going with this?  

For a moment consider what a North American alliance, From Montreal to Mexico City, that had an "Apollo moment": the North American hemisphere could be a global energy powerhouse.  Our resources in wind, solar, geothermal & biomass are vast. The foundation for an economy that creates jobs, is environmentally-benign and leads the world in innovation is within our reach. American inventors, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers,  leaders a global transformation towards the development of more secure energy choices. Better ensuring our national security while strengthening our economy at the same time.  American energy resources; investing in clean, renewable energy technologies that create American jobs.

 

Perhaps you think that vision is a cut-and-paste from a liberal think tank in Berkeley? One of those crazy, left-wing non-profits out of touch with reality? 

Well, you'd be wrong.

It's from the vision statement of the Christian Coalition of America's,  "America's Path to Progress Platform"

We've arrived.  And I want to be the first to give credit where credit is due.  No swarmy comments.  No backhanded praise.  Just. Pure. Genuine. Gratitude.  Partners in a better future. Partners in a "pipeline".  A pipeline of opportunity, producing real prosperity, not the fake kind – like the preachers house. Prosperity for the masses – not just a few mansion-dwellers.  Let's believe in American ingenuity.  Let's believe in our fellow man north and south of our border.  That's what got us here – and that's what will take us to where we're going. 

Kill the pipeline, Congressman. Let's call it what it is: The Poverty Pipeline.  If built, it will rob Americans of millions of jobs; it will rob rural America of the opportunity to create a vast network of advanced biofuel facilities, rob our economy of billions in GDP – and rob our future of any chance of a stable climate.   But it will build a couple of guys a really nice house.

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  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    right on

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Thought-provoking diary.

    I was already not a supporter of the Keystone pipeline. But I understand that biofuels also have drawbacks: not suitable to every region, require lots of water and fertilizer. If it's a case of choosing the lesser weevil, sure, lets go with biofuels.

    Because I don't want to live in a society without highly concentrated transportation fuels that can go in a tank and enable one to go places and haul stuff.

    And we also have to distinguish between using waste biofuels, such as wood and garbage processing byproducts, or growing corn ethanol. Is the waste biomass still the better choice? And how far do you think we are from the "Mad Max" scenario where we get fuel from garbage?

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      This has been such a complex subject – mostly because it's been hijacked by monied interests.  A very American thing these days. Unless we want to go back to riding burros, we'll have to keep focusing on 'best solutions'.  We didn't leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones.  We won't leave the petroleum age because we ran out of the gooey stuff.  Every transition has taken us to a more plentiful, cheaper supply.  This transition will be no different – except that the money in politics has complicated the pace of the transition.

      I toyed with diving into the other, equally-as-critical points surrounding biofuels [aromatics and technology] – but this diary would have been three times longer had I done so.  I'm going to break the issues into separate diaries. 

      So much of the negative press on biofuels was promoted through the Grocery Manufactures Association – who were funded, in full, by the American Petroleum Association. There is the perpetual bad actors on Wall Street who use speculation in the marketplace to move the price of corn, soybeans and RIN's, regardless of real market forces [supply/demand].

      We're entering the phase of "Mad Max".  Companies like Google-seeded "Cool Planet" has just relocated its global headquarters to Colorado.  There is no shortage of gas-to-liquids technology that take methane [whether from municipal waste or fugitive emissions] and turn them into liquid synfuels.  There are literally hundreds of innovative companies in the wings – all kept at bay by Big Oil.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Thank you Michael.  Great diary.

        The other thing that gets overlooked is that the Boreal Forests produce most of the oxygen for our planet and these projects risk degredation of such a vital resource.

    • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

      The answer is  not that far. Anything that contains cellulose is subject to becoming a feedstock for the cellulosic ethanol process. It broadens when ones definition of waste includes things like switchgrass and other plants not normally grown with human consumption in mind. Of course the Koch boys will resist such things as hard as their bilions willallow being the sort for whom too much is not enough. Their ability to influence government policy will be key at both ends of this struggle.

  3. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    Ah – so you are a pusher of ethanol.  That explains much.

  4. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Actually, I'm a "pusher" for job creation, rural economic development and growing our own GDP.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      Not really.  You are pushing, in the words of a liberal friend mine Peter Fisk " false-alternative fallacy: The Keystone crony-capitalist agenda is bad; therefore we must support Big Corn's crony-capitalist agenda."

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Did you even bother to read through the embedded links or is this just a "drive-by".  Corn ethanol is capped under RFS2.  The next wave will be cellulosic or waste-based – which is why the USDA Billion Ton Study is important.  I remember you're busy getting ready for a trial from another thread.  Perhaps you came to this debate unprepared.

        • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

          Yes – I bothered to read your piece, however I've outsourced responding to it as I'm drafting trial questions.  Here is another good response from Peter Fisk: ""In 2012, ethanol contributed $43.4 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and added $30.2 billion to household income."

          … Um, right, because the Big Corn lobby bought enough members of Congress to push through mandates that we use a certain amount of ethanol in our vehicles even though it makes no economic sense to do so."

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            You've outsourced responding? That's an interesting way of putting it. And I'm pretty sure, even when you have more time, you'll choose not to respond to anything other than views on ethanol even though that's not the main thrust of the diary. It's just what you grabbed on to for convenience.

            • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

              He couldn't spot Jon Keyser's bs on duplicate ballots but he thinks I'm a 'pusher'?  [sigh] I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted.

              • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                Nobody knows what's in any of his rightie friend's hearts and it's unfair to make assumptions, no matter how much evidence there is to go on. They always deserve the most bending over backwards assumption of absence of bad/racist/deceptive/whatever intentions and the most bending into contortionist pretzel shapes benefit of the doubt. Somebody like you?  Not so much. 

                Besides he's working on an important case. I sure hope, for his client's sake, he's handling prep type stuff and isn't the one who is going to be doing any actual arguing in court.

                • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                  I do hope he indeed has a real friend named Peter, and that he's not just a straw man.  I believe this is the first time I've ever "back-and-forthed" with Elliot, so I'm not sure how he formed his belief on my opinions of things like farm subsidies.  He might be surprised at my thoughts on that particlualr subject.  But, alas, I found myself arguing in third person.  WWPS?

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      "Ripping" it? I don't think that word means what you think it means.  Please get your friend Peter to join us over here.  And if, in fact, he is "bicycle_repairman" below I'd suggest he may have fallen off of his bike and hit his head. 1) the man in picture #2 is not standing in a corn field. 2) the picture on the bottom of the diary is NOT corn.  It's grass. 3) While I prefer the Growth Energy alliance over the ADM's of the world – the next generation biofuels will be smaller, regionally located plants that will likely be owned by farmer cooperatives.  Not ADM, Cargill or ConAgra.  This isn't a "corn lobby" debate. 

              • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                I know. Elliott just can't stop himself from defending a conservative POV, even when it defies logic and common sense. It would be entertaining and hopefully, informative, to debate conventional vs. alternative fuel economies with his friend.

                But, on the ethanol issue, I'm still trying to get sort of a cost/benefits analysis on ethanol development in Colorado vs. alternative energy projects such as solar and wind. Because ethanol does offer that "tankability" into personal transportation, it's got an advantage over those systems. It's also clearly cleaner, with fewer global warming effects,  than oil and gas for that transportation fuel application. And compared to the disastrous effects (and as you pointed out, few benefits) of the Keystone pipeline, ethanol would be much the better choice. So are you advocating ethanol for heating & electricity applications, or just as a transportation fuel?

                My technical knowledge on alternative energy is 20 years out of date, from when I graduated with a completely unmarketable passive solar design AAS degree. 

                It appears that the food – or -fuel problems have been solved; that is, if waste products are used, farmers won't be growing corn and sugar beets for energy that would be more efficiently used for food. 

                I'd like to see more solar and wind applications for heating and electricity in Colorado. I am kind of appalled that there were no bidders for solar plants on federal lands recently, and wonder why, although that's a topic for another diary.

                Fracking and other gas and shale exploration in Colorado pretty clearly has more negative long term effects than short term positive effects, although clearly Congressman Gardner would disagree.

                For transportation fuel only, not heating or electricity, would you say that biomass, including all of the spectrum from wood mill trash to farmed corn ethanol, is better for the environment and economy than fossil fuel development in Colorado?  Your source, the 2005 Biomass billion ton study, would seem to back that.  The Cool Planet startup in Greenwood Village is promising, and their timeline of 5 years to the point where people can actually buy liquid biofuels for the family car seems reasonable.

                In Pueblo, we have the Western gas stations, which do sell ethanol at a lower price than gasoline, although I understand that one has to adapt one's carburetor and fuel system to handle it. Does anyone know what that cost is?

                Thanks for your  patience and helping us to update our alternative energy knowledge.

                 

                • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                  I'll take a stab at all of that [and I do hope Elliot's friend joins the debate].  First, any of the advanced biofuels will be used for transportation – not heating. [There are some combined heating and power district heating systems that use biodiesel, but they are the exception, not the rule].  The 10% mandate for ethanol in the fuel system was the result of a grand bargain between Congress and the oil industry to get MTBE out of the fuel supply.  Really, really bad stuff. Carcinogenic.

                  We had remnants of an ethanol industry in the US left over from the Carter days – and yes, farmers are great innovators. And yes, we supported the grand bargain.  But to be clear, the first 10% was about eliminating the legal exposure of big oil for their pollution more than anything else.

                  Food v. Fuel was a made-up campaign funded by the American Petroleum Institute to convince consumers that ethanol [their competition] was bad. 98% of the US corn supply isn't for human consumption.  It feeds your chickens, cows and pigs – and makes high fructose corn syrup.  The ethanol process only extracts the starch from the kernel and leaves all of the protein components as a by-product – which then goes back to livestock as feed. It's a more intellectually honest argument to say that, from a resource standpoint, any kernel of corn that was destined for animal feed anyway was wasting it's starch if it didn't first pass through an ethanol plant. [as a rule, particularly in beef cattle, they don't need the starch].

                  So this is usually where people fall in to a trap.  It's the "Glenn Beck game": A=B and C=D, therefore, A=D.  Most detractors of ethanol [almost exclusively liberals – who have been taught to hate the resource] think that if we didn't have an ethanol industry, we wouldn't be growing corn. [most of them hate corn, too].  That is a patently false and absurd belief.  If we didn't produce a single barrel of ethanol in the US, we'd still be growing exactly the same number of acres of corn we are today – and we'd be exporting all of it to China.  They have become a net importer of corn in the past five years.

                  And, to be fair, even I would admit there needs to be a lot of change in the region of the Ogallala aquifer.  It's not a very smart system [coal-fired power generated in Wyoming pulling water from the ground in Colorado] but it's what we have.  We need a dramatic shift in the Farm Bill to encourage a transition [there are lots of possibiliities], but that isn't going to happen in the current bill.  Our next opportunity will be five years from now.

                  Aromatics is a bigger issue.  By volume, todays gasoline contains 30% aromatics: Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.  A 2007 EPA MATS study concluded that ethanol could displace these extremely harmful substances.  A recent study from Harvard concluded they were causing up to $36 billion annual in health costs [urban air corridors – respiratory related].  At the time of the MATS study oil was $20/barrel and we had a shortage of ethanol for displacement – so the decision was made on an "economic basis" to not push for the elimination of BTX.  Today that scenario has inverted itself and the EPA may well target the elimination of BTX-derived aromatics.  That would be a good thing.

                  There are also no shortage of API [American Petroleum Institute] fake-non-profits who are trying to convince you to demand a roll back of the Renewable Fuels Standard because the proposed "E-15" will damage your engine.  I see the banners on this page once-in-awhile.  There is almost nothing to that claim.  I have been mixing my own E-30 blend and running it in my GM car for five years.  Most internal car company studies show that the optimum blend for octane and energy is E-22.

                  At the end of the day, this is a battle over market share.  And as much as those dreaded "mandates" grate against ones soul – when you are up against monopolies like Big Oil – mandates are your only rememdy.

                  Ethanol is being produced FOB at the plants today somewhere in the $1.75 range.  And we should be using more of it in our supply – and be displacing BTX as the next step.  If we converted all of the identifed waste biomass streams in the US today, we'd be producing something near 70% of our consumption.  Throw in the electric cars to round out the fleet and we've trapped all of the consume energy dollars in our own economy.  That's a plus for all of us.

                  • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                    PS: if Western is selling E-85 in Pueblo, you would need to have a FFV [FlexFuel Vehicle] to burn that product.  It doesn't have anything to do with the carbuerator – it's a 'hose' problem.  [ethanol will eat through some hoses.  Detroit could make every car FFV-capable, but that would require an enormous =/- $85 investment in each new vehicle.]  Everything else you buy is already E-10 [10% ethanol].

                  • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                    Let me check my understanding.

                    • Food vs. Fuel is a debunked argument.
                    • Corn is good. I like corn, and that's not even counting my sense of humor.
                    • There is less potential for groundwater pollution with ethanol production than with fracking and conventional oil and gas production.
                    • air pollution? I'm not sure. Something I read today indicated that tailpipe emissions with ethanol and gasoline fuels are similar. I'd like to hear from air pollution experts like "western values" on this one.
                    • ethanol content at 10% now boosts rural jobs and was mandated by the renewable fuels standard.
                    • 10% ethanol displaces MTBE in petroleum fuels, which takes carcinogens out of the air.  There are still "aromatics" in the air pollution, which could be (should be?) replaced by more ethanol.
                    • ethanol content up to 22% won't hurt a standard car. If I buy the E85 (85%) ethanol at the Western station, I should get a retrofit of the fuel hoses.

                    OK, so that's what I understand.

                    Now what about the secessionists? I think that they are not fans of the renewable fuel standard (RFS)? Why not,if they can produce ethanol? Is it more profitable to allow O&G production on their land, or are they completely propagandized, or ??

                    Even our local recall successor candidate, George Rivera, was against the RFS. He said:

                    RENEWABLE ENERGY:

                    Renewable energy is great, but we can not continue to mandate ever higher renewable energy standards and in the process cause undue hardship on the citizens of Colorado, especially those living in our rural communities.

                    I didn't know WTF he was talking about, but now I think I'm getting a glimmer. Higher RFS standards would mean less O&G production, more ethanol?

                    Anyway. Just trying to learn here. Thanks.

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      I'l start with George and then go back to the beginning:  I hope he enjoys the trappings of office in 2013.  It will be a short-lived career. His statement about 'hardship' is lifted directly from the SB-252 opponents play book and their fabricated, faux-War on Rural Colorado media campaign – which was a joke.

                      Food v. Fuel: thoroughly debunked.

                      Corn. It's what we're stuck with because of a complicated federal farm bill.  I don't defend its production under all circumstances, but it's what we have to deal with for the near term.

                      Groundwater pollution: Ethanol is nothing more than moonshine.  Environmentally-benign from a water contamination perspective.  Fracking, not so much.

                      You're mixing up "tail pipe emissions" and "pollution".  CO2 emissions from biofuels are a fraction of petroleum. In the case of biofuels you're simply recycling atmospheric CO2 via photosynthese and combustion.  With any petroleum-based fuel you're contributing new CO2 to the existing atmospheric concentrations. 

                      Regarding pollution, the worst actor of the two are petroleum.  Gasoline PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] are toxic. They are by far the dominant source of urban PM2.5 SOAs. UFP [ultra-fine particles]-bound PAHs migrate 2,500 meters from roadways and they easily penetrate into homes and persist for days.  Bad, bad stuff that we've had the ability to regulate out of the supply for a decade under the Clean Air Act – but not for the API lobby. 

                      There are few industries that create the kind of well-paid, long-term jobs like this industry.  Yes, mandates work.  And are necessary when you are dealing with a monopoly like Big Oil.

                      Big 3 testing on ethanol shows the most bang for the energy buck with an E-22.  That means Big Oil would have to give up another 12% of their market.  They will spend [and have] hundreds of million on Capitol Hill to keep that from happening.

                      Secessionist?  I'd rather not go down that bunny hole.  It always ends badly.  God only knows how that would play out in a group vote.  Some of the most rabid secessionists take significant farm subsidies.  Others are city dwellers – who likely get some other form of state or federal aid.  What a waste of time and energy.

                      There won't be any more corn ethanol plants built in Colorado.  Corn ethanol production is capped under RFS2.  We are already over-producing and have been exporting the product for a while now.  The balance of the RFS mandates [36 billion gallon] will come from celluosic/waste/low carbon sources.

                      You're a quick learner.  I'm impressed…

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      PS: One more comment on the 51st state and Cory: publicly [at least locally] you would find him extolling the virtues of ethanol.  The plants in Yuma and Sterling have been great additions to their local economies. 

                      But we all know how the game is played out here in DC: when a vote related to the RFS isn't close and Cory's vote wouldn't sway the outcome, the Speaker and Whip give him a pass and he can go on record reflecting support for his districts's farmers and the industry.  But, when things are tight, as in the case of Chairman Upton appointing him to the 'gang of 4' to find a compromise between Big Oil interests and the ethanol industry, we come up empty handed.  Cory is reported to be on the "short list" for Speaker of the House – and he isn't going to do a thing to rile anyone in Wichita or Houston to jeopardize that.  So, we came up empty-handed, and the industry heads back to court to protect itself from the onslaught of attorneys wth API & Co. 

                      Cory 1.0® – was someone I admired and believed had an positive influence in Washington regarding rural, eastern Colorado needs.  But that was a decade ago.  Cory 2.0® – not so much.

                  • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                    Thanks for so clearly explaining the whole ethanol thing. I feel like this is the best and most easily understood info I've encountered on the subject to date. 

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      BC – Here's a report on biofuels put out by the United Nation's Foundation you might enjoy perusing.  Also, contrary to comments made here by the ambulance chaser and the bicycel repairman, national security experts insist that Big Oil should be "busted up". – and cite the Renewable Fuels Standard as "a critical pro gram that bringsstability in fuel prices, tangible energy security and cleaner air for generations to come."

                      A McKinsey and NREL report also concluded that ethanol is saving American drivers approximately $24 billion annually.

                  • buddymike800 says:

                    You lost me at, "Most detractors of ethanol [almost exclusively liberals" and that "Food v. Fuel was a made-up campaign funded by the American Petroleum Institute to convince consumers that ethanol [their competition] was bad."  Both of these statements are patently false which draws into question the credibility of everything else you state.  If A=B and B=C, then A does = C.

                     

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    And the proof, please? Does your friend Peter understand why ethanol was put in to the supply in the first place? It started as a grand bargain between Congress and the oil refiners to get MTBE out of the supply .  As a trial lawyer, you can appreciate the legal exposure the industry had at the time for tainting metropolitan water supplies with the carcinogen.  The 'subisdy' every liberal likes to talk about was a blenders credit that benefitted the oil companies – not the farmers.  And the resultant increase in the price of corn lowered the overall subsidy payments to corn farmers.  I'm guessing your friend Peter ignores that part of the equation.  Or maybe he just hates corn farmers.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      Michael, as a former econ major I know when to spot BS that is looking for further rent seeking in the form of subsidies.  Sorry that I can't parlay much more today, but I wasn't going to let your post go uncriticized. 

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        That's sweet, thanks for caring enough about the issue to drop by.  Econ here myself.  Perhaps you should ask for a refund. Throw in the indirect health costs of aromatics in the gasoline supply that should be supplanted with ethanol/methanol and my case is even stronger.  But I wouldn't want to confuse you and your friend Peter with more facts.  Instead of talking third person – have him log on and create an account.  Would love to debate it with him.

  6. Bicycle_Repairman says:

    This diary is little more than greenwashing propaganda from the Big Corn lobby.

    Yes, the Keystone Pipeline is very bad for the environment and the economy. But so are the ethanol mandates. We do not have to choose between siding with either Archer-Daniels Midland or ExxonMobil.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        You mean, "Elliott"? cool

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          It's hard to keep track!  I will say this, I'm in DC this week and my day today was spent in an office with a number of retired military guys who have been working on clean energy issues for over a decade [one of them for 30 years].  The older one fought in Korea.  Two purple hears.  Congressional commendation.  Still getting up every day – at the age of 84 – and working on this.  I showed them the posts from Elliot and bicycle boy.  They had a good laugh. Especially at Elliott's "ripping" comment.  These are real patriots. Went to war.  Served our country.  One of them helped write the DOD quadrennial review under Bush that was the first government agency to describe climate change as a national threat.  Elliot and his "ripping it" friends wouldn't last 30 seconds with these guys.

          Tonight I was with another group I'm doing a lot of work with, Operation Free.  These young men and women are part of the Truman National Security Project and have all done two tours. Their work here is committed to energy independence and climate issues.  They've all seen their friends come home in body bags. They've all seen the effects of desertification on societal strains in northern Africa.  I'd be repetitive if I said Elliot and company would last 30 seconds with this crowd.  Because they'd last about 15 seconds with this younger crew. 

          So, I started the day with an ambulance chaser and a "bicycle repairman" described me as a "pusher" and "Big Corn Lobbyist" – and I ended the day sharing a brew with veterans working on this transition.  Real men and women.  Patriots.  The real kind.  We all got the last laugh.  And we tipped one to '"the boys".

    • CaninesCanines says:

      I like to imagine that I represent the Big Hemp lobby. I endorse biofuels. I'm all for allowing free market competition — as opposed to protecionist, prohibitionist policies — to determine the best source of the fuel.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Well said, Canines. That's why I've spent most of the last 10 months in DC, helping move the industrial hemp amendment to the farm bill through the process.  A crop that offers so many opportunities for us – and wouldn't need a dime in subsidies.  Fingers crossed.  The conference committee starts this afternoon.

  7. Yokel says:

    It's a false choice. Putting in a pipeline does not prohibit biofuel expansion. You can argue against Keystone XL on the merits, and you can argue for biofuels on the merits. But you've failed to connect the two as an either/or situation. The two are unrelated. 

    But your LOLKochBros ad hominem was poetical. 

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Under most circumstances I might whole-heartedly agree with you.  The point of this diary is they are trying to sell the pipeline as a "job creator" and giving us some sense of "energy security".  It gives us neither.  This is an "export model".  The sands will be refined in the Houston ports and the final product will be shipped to China.  If our focus is jobs and energy security, then we have more than sufficient resources to achieve that goal sans the pipeline right under our nose.  All we lack is the political will.

  8. saofner says:

    Nice diary, Mike.  Thanks.   It may be very helpful to take some of our less technical readers through modern synthetics, including biodiesel. There is a lot available, including presentations at petroleum industry investors' conferences here and elsewhere.  Many don't know that there is a lot of natural gas leaking from old, closed wells which could be economically directed to biodiesel facilities, operations which don't take very much space as an integrated crude oil refinery.  I look forward to seeing more on this very important subject from you in the near future.

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Biodiesel is the ultimate fuel.  The leaking natural gas wells would give us a rich resource to create synfuels.  But, as I eluded to in an earlier diary on the fugitive emissions, until we put regulations in place that require their recovery – we're going to be stuck with those god-awful flaring operations.  Southwest Reserch has some really cool technology geared to that, as does EcoVapors in Fort Collins.

  9. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    The CD-5 Brain Trust has weighed in on the Capitol Hill biofuel outragefueled funded by the many shadows of the Exxon-API cabal.  Ignore the fact his district is home to five military installations – who are rapidly expanding their use of biofuels; ignore the fact he has no confined animal livestock facilities in his district. Ignore the fact that one of his constituents just completed a second-stage SBIR with the Department of Defense that has demonstrated superior engine technology that delivers massive efficiency gains in both ethanol and biodiesel. 

    He never ceases to amaze me in his lack of intellect or intellectual curiousity.  Perhaps Chairman Goodlatte told him ethanol was a contraceptive.

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