Keystone is anti-hydrocarbon zealotry in microcosm

Radical environmentalists prefer dangerous, inhumane, ecologically destructive alternatives

Guest essay by Paul Driessen

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) recently voted to approve the state’s segment of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. While that would appear to allow construction to move forward, more obstacles loom before KXL can finally bring North Dakota and Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries.

Commissioners who voted against approval have raised objections, some landowners still object to the pipeline crossing their lands, other landowners were not aware that the new route will cross their properties, and environmentalists plan more lawsuits to stop TransCanada’s plans to finish Keystone.

Further complicating matters, the NSPC-approved route is not the company’s preferred path through the Cornhusker State. A spokesman said project engineers will have to assess how much the newly revised route will affect construction schedules and costs, on top of the $3 billion it already spent on KXL.

The imbroglio is a tiny facet of the ideological green movement’s implacable opposition to carbon-based energy. Rooted in climate change dogma, its “keep it in the ground” mantra has become a rallying cry for nasty campaigns against pipeline construction, existing pipelines, drilling and even sand destined for fracking operations. Police increasingly have to deal with masked thugs, mountains of toxic trash, murder threats and even the possibility of improvised bombs hidden in “peaceful protesters” encampments.

The attitudes and actions underscore the increasing power and recalcitrance of $13-billion-per-year Big Green industry, and how little fundamental facts affect its thinking. If the radicals believe there is an ecological or climate risk, they feel justified in using intimidation, criminal sanctions, and even force, violence and eco-terror to impose their will. Whatever they cannot make off limits via Antiquities Act, wilderness or other land use designations, they intend to lock up or shut down by other means.

The most delayed and litigated pipeline in U.S. history, KXL has stirred controversy for over a decade. Proponents say it is a necessary, safe, effective way to transport crude oil to refineries that produce fuel for vehicles and raw materials for countless petrochemical products. In fact, segments of Keystone have already been in operation for several years, delivering crude oil to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

A new, shorter, more direct route – Keystone XL, running diagonally through Wyoming, the Dakotas and Nebraska – would be less expensive and safer. The northern portions were approved years ago, but the Nebraska section encountered prolonged opposition from climate alarmists and President Obama.

TransCanada had already agreed to move the route away from environmentally sensitive wetlands known as the Nebraska Sandhills. The NPSC decision shifted the pipeline further away from Sandhills. Diehard opponents say all pipelines are inherently unsafe, prolong the use of “climate-damaging” fossil fuels, and will become obsolete relics as America shifts entirely to renewable energy in a utopian decade or so.

The United States already has 160,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and 2,200,000 miles of local gas distribution pipelines. Skilled builders will use the latest steel, valve, monitoring and other technologies to build the KXL segment and prevent spills.

No one can guarantee that spills will never occur. A recent older Keystone pipeline break in South Dakota caused a 5,000-barrel leak. However, the Keystone and KXL lines traverse mostly rural areas, whereas truck and rail alternatives go along busy, congested highways and through towns and urban areas – with far greater potential for loss of human life and property.

A fiery 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people and left many more badly burned; rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. By carrying 830,000 barrels of light and heavy crude every day, Keystone XL would eliminate the need for 1,225 railroad tanker cars per day (450,000 per year) or 3,500 semi-trailer tanker trucks daily (1,275,000 annually)!

More than 99.9% of oil moved by pipeline arrives safely at its destination, the Wall Street Journal notes. Rail transit is 2.5 times more likely to have an accident resulting in an oil spill, and trucks are six times more likely to do so – with both far more likely to injure, burn or kill many people. Indeed, the 5,000-barrel spill happened after the Keystone pipeline had safely delivered more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil, and TransCanada isolated the affected pipeline section within 15 minutes. No serious damage occurred.

Equally important, wind and solar substitutes for fossil fuels have their own major ecological impacts – which few environmentalists ever acknowledge. Using wind power to replace current US electricity generation and charge batteries for just seven windless days of backup power would require some 14 million towering 1.8-MW bird-and-bat-killing turbines, across acreage twice the size of California. The backup power would require over 650 million 100-kWh Tesla battery packs on still more acreage.

This does not consider what it would take to replace vehicles with electric versions – or coal and gas fuel in foundries, refineries and factories. The steel, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, fiberglass and other raw materials to build all those turbines, batteries and transmission lines would require massive quantities of earth removal, mining, processing, smelting and manufacturing – much of it in developing countries under dangerous, inhuman conditions. Renewable energy is not ecological or sustainable.

Activists who cry Climate Armageddon attempt to tie every temperature rise, hurricane and other extreme weather event to human greenhouse gas emissions. They ignore the record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland, prior to Harvey – and the “warming hiatus” that has prevailed since 1998, except during the 2015-16 El Niño temperature spike.

Climate computer models falsely assume that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide drives climate change … and predict average global temperatures a full 1 degree F higher than have actually been observed by satellites and weather balloons, a gap that is widening every year. It now appears that Western Antarctic ice shelf instability is due to volcanic and magmatic activity beneath it – not climate change.

Heavily subsidized, sporadic, unreliable wind and solar combined provide less than 3% of all U.S. energy. One day, they (or some other as yet unimaginable energy source) may replace the fossil fuels that still account for 81% of the energy that makes US livelihoods, living standards and life spans possible – and is lifting billions out of abject poverty, malnutrition and disease. But that day has not yet arrived.

Fossil fuels provide feed stocks for paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other products that enrich and safeguard our lives. They keep our lights, heat and air conditioning on, and power the manufacturing centers that create computers, smart phones, healthcare technologies, vehicles and batteries. They take patients to hospitals, people to work and events, products to retailers and homes.

They are the most efficient, most affordable power source for the modern civilization which we Americans enjoy and take for granted – and to which all humans aspire. Pipelines are the fastest, safest, most direct, most economical way to get oil and natural gas supplies where they are needed.

Keystone XL is a vital addition to America’s pipeline system. It’s not perfect. But it is essential for a healthier, safer, more prosperous United States. Building it will create tens of thousands of jobs.

As to handling anarchists who think they are above the law, these suggestions may help. Ensure that there are sufficient police and National Guardsmen to maintain control. Require permits and multi-million-dollar surety bonds for every encampment, to ensure safety, lawful activities, and cleanup of human and other wastes. Prohibit wearing of ski masks and collect IDs, fingerprints and photos of every activist.

To prevent hypocrisy in anti-fossil fuel anarchist camps, prohibit all petroleum-based synthetic fibers (clothing, tents, sleeping bags); clothing derived from fibers grown, harvested and/or manufactured using fossil fuels; computers and cell phones with plastic housings; and transportation from protest sites in vehicles fueled or manufactured with hydrocarbons, in aircraft, or on asphalt roadways.

Allow only growing, harvesting, garment manufacturing, food, cooking and travel using all-natural pre-1900 technologies – so that campers can learn how wonderful life was back in the “good old days.”

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

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101 thoughts on “Keystone is anti-hydrocarbon zealotry in microcosm

  1. “replace vehicles with electric versions”

    A tesla is way to expensive to leave parked out in the elements…..has to go in the garage
    …damned if I’m putting a self igniting car in the house

    …and hybrids are even stupider…..not only do you still have to stop for gas…you have to plug it in too

    • Many years ago I worked the design for a hybrid transit bus, the ATTB. It seemed promising at first, but as we began to solve one technical solution and integration effort after another it loomed apparent that rather than being an improvement over existing diesel transit buses it was actually the worst of each world. When operating properly it did work well and was vastly improved over conventional diesel engine drive trains. Where it suffered the most was in system complexity and reliability. You have essentially twice the number of systems which equates into twice the reliability concerns, twice the maintenance issues…essentially twice the headaches. The added benefits didn’t cover the added operational costs.
      Acquisition costs are important, but a better accounting MUST include operational costs because often that is where many issue accrue and are attempted to be discounted by amorous proponents.

      • The operational challenges and costs are one of the biggest vulnerabilities in wind powered electricity generation, all the more so with offshore farms.
        Even a cursory reading of the numbers and real world descriptions (see articles on the London Array … largest offshore farm today) show how preposterously inaccurate the claims are of being economically competitive.
        Changing gearbox oil in bucket brigade fashion atop remote, wind swept hills are not the stories the whirley advocates wish to broadcast to the wider public.

  2. Do some primitive camping in northern Missouri in June in the woods for a couple of weeks and once you get home to air conditioning, have a nice shower, get the ticks off and coat the insect bites with a nice Petro salve , Then tell me about the evils of the modern world.

    • We have people coming to Northern Michigan all the time thinking the can live out of their car, at a “primitive” campsite for a month with no problems. You would be amazed how many end up circulating by our “rather cushy” township park to access the running water and recharge their cell phones.

  3. The alarmists never bothered to point out that the 5,000 barrel spill in Canada had just about the same overall environmental impact as the installation of an asphalt parking lot at your local mall.

    • True, with respect to toxicity effect on the land where the parking lot is placed, but often the location of the local mall parking lot is often not in environmentally remote areas,but your point is taken.

      How big of an oil spill mishap would have to occur at the Keystone protest sites to equal the effect of the environmental warriors at those sites?

  4. It was funny to watch the “leave it in the ground” DAPL protesters melt away in the face of double-digit sub-zero blizzard conditions that lasted for weeks. A significant number of them fled to the Standing Rock casino to avoid being killed by the weather. Then back home to the safety and comfort of their homes that oil makes possible.

  5. Deranged zealots derive their meaning in life from opposing things. Environmentalism has spawned a whole series of Neo-Prohibition movements as heavy in passion and light in intellectual heft as Carrie Nation’s 1900-era campaign to combat alcoholism by destroying saloons with her hatchet.

    Where I live on Cape Cod, activists are crowing about the final defeat of a “farm” of wind generators proposed for Nantucket Sound nearly 15 years ago. Millions were spent. Although the region is officially in favor of “renewables,” NIMBYism prevails more often than not. The latest large-scale renewable is proposed “offshore” wind power from large wind generators anchored far out at sea. Although the Nantucket Wind proposal was defeated by invoking threats to birds, whales, scenery, excessive costs, and so on, the offshore project will pose many of the same dangers, with the added handicaps of being a menace to oceanic shipping and being vastly more expensive and difficult to maintain. It still won’t generate baseline electricity. Don’t expect it to replace baseline power anytime soon.

    Other zealots have shut down the largest power plant in the Commonwealth, Brayton Point near Fall River, and are working overtime to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear, the largest non-carbon source of electricity in Massachusetts. Don’t expect NIMBYs to be satisfied. They’ll go after New Hampshire’s Seabrook Nuclear next. They hate pipelines that supply the gas for 70% of Massachusetts’ electricity, and much of its home heat and industrial energy, and oppose any expansion. They ritually tout local food while also touting taxes and regulations that make food production more difficult. When did biting the hands that feed you become a moral imperative?

    The state of Maine shut down its nuke fifteen years ago, and has since replaced most of that 1/3rd of Maine’s electricity by burning wood, the pre-industrial fuel that emits more CO2 and fly ash per BTU than coal. You can’t expect rational cost/benefit analysis from anti-power people. The green ideology is “implacably opposed” to almost everything except a dreamlike sylvan paradise that never existed.

    • Sadly the green movement’s response to anything now is :

      NO NO, NO, Never !!! What was the question again?

    • As the evidence of AGW continues to evaporate into nothing, the left grows more desperate and violent. We will have to face them at some point, in a final showdown that will get very ugly, very fast. I for one, do not want to live through the “Agenda 21” story as written by Glen Beck a number of years ago.

    • The coming cold snaps this New England winter may jar the wider public as to just how precarious their electricity situation really is.
      The recent, EDF funded report claiming a few hundred cubic feet of oversubscribed natgas – during a handful of the coldest days over a three year timeframe – as being evidence of market manipulation was truly stunning in its implications.
      Not that the ridiculous claims were valid, rather that the environmental people themselves recognize the seriousness of the situation and are frantically attempting to deflect responsibility upon others.

    • But, but these people are sure that they are saving the world.
      These people have certainty. They know the truth, they absolutely know what the world needs, there is no doubt!
      Their science, their systematic discovery has found the ultimate truth, a truth so deep they believe all life on the planet depends on it. They are ‘saving the world’

      I wonder when ‘the world’ asked for them as saviors?
      I wonder why they are so sure that they are correct, why there can be no doubt? Would that be because, like so many people, their belief in science is to believe that it is utterly true, it is all just fact. And it appears they see these facts as immutable, unmovable, they are the new commandments, whether or not they help or hinder humanity. For them some humanity will be just be collateral damage.

      It would seems to me it is this absolutism, this certainty, this rationalized logic, and the belief in scientific certitude and facts being greater than human life that causes so much strife. But are any of us truly sure?
      Are our ‘facts’ (what ever you believe them to be) really immutable?

  6. Prohibit wearing of ski masks and collect IDs, fingerprints and photos of every activist.

    Every activist, even the law abiding ones.

    while I agree with most of Paul’s article it is surprising how he is ready to gleefully rip up the constitution and trample on the basic rights of those he does not agree with and who are not breaking the law because some people are breaking the law .

    Seems the right is just as happy to see the law broken, we are just arguing about which laws we chose to ignore.

    Nice double standards, Paul.

    • If you are wearing a mask (i.e. a disguise) you are breaking the law (in most American states). What other laws are you claiming “the right” wants to ignore?

    • I agree that some of the prescriptions are overkill and certainly illegal, but they should take away the unlawful things involving damage and behavior that threatens life, limb and property that they have been too soft on with the “entitlement” sector of the population. Definitely there would follow some photographing naked faces and taking fingerprints!

      Greg, these “activists” are a hypocritical bunch. They don’t really give a damn about the ecology or public safety and well-being. They oppose the pipelines because of their neomarxbrothers global governance plan. I’m sorry, the ends do not justify the means which I know is rather a heretical idea these days among a Big Agenda-driven left. If there is an issue truly directly associated with pipeline construction and its potential negatives, hey, demonstrate, but consider all the alternatives to the pipeline and weigh these. If you drive a car, heat your home, wear manmade fibers, etc., then, yes you should eschew these things to the degree possible – volunteer to pay for only renewable energy. Take public transport, hold your eco-klatches by Skype – there is a lot you should be doing that is available.

      If the other side decided to be non-violent activist and went around in the night turning off anti fossil activists’ natural gas to their homes, refusing fill ups at the pump, etc. would you be defending them? If not, then you are showing a double standard that you already have.

    • Greg – December 10, 2017 at 7:29 am

      while I agree with most of Paul’s article it is surprising how he is ready to gleefully rip up the constitution and trample on the basic rights of those he does not agree with and who are not breaking the law because some people are breaking the law .

      Greg, are you actually supporting the actions of those “echo inviro-terrorists” who are and have been “trampling on the basic rights of those persons they disagree with (Keystone XL et el)” …… while at the same time you are criticizing Paul Driessen for what you claim to be his “trampling on the basic rights of those he does not agree with”?

      It appears to me that you “enjoy picking n’ choosing” and are quite happy with …….. whose Ox should be gored …….. as long as it is NOT your Ox, ……. right?

      The protests of a few foolishly miseducated individuals ……. should not be permitted to disrupt or destroy the “lifesaving” and necessary needs of millions of people.

      Me thinks those foolishly miseducated “echo inviro-terrorists” are ready and willing to …….. “kill the patient in order to cure the cancer“.

  7. Only in the post modern world, does it seem rational to attempt to reason with Gang Green.
    They are immune to reason,only your latter suggestions would be effective, allowing them to feel the consequences of their beliefs.
    Given the damages already done by these antisocial socialists,I would take great pleasure in enforcing their stated rules,upon them.
    Eventually such people do get their comeuppance.
    And getting into the Christmas spirit,I believe the appropriate gift for any such in your life would be a lump of coal.Gift wrapped or delivered at high velocity, depending on which method you feel will best impact their world view.

    • The best present for these naughty children is the traditional lump of coal in their hand-out expectant stockings. Accompanied by a note inviting them to “keep it in the groung” or somewhere else where the sun doesn’t shine.

  8. I’m curious if anyone has yet to compare the fuel requirements for the three methods of transporting crude. I’ve seen railroad ads saying that the do/can get approximately 500 miles per gallon per ton of cargo but I don’t know the cost of shipping crude via pipeline. Does anyone have those figures?

    • Liquid gas I could believe may be more efficient piped. Crude I very much doubt.

      But you are trying to be logical and logic does not count. Please try again. ;)

      • “To pipe liquid methane”, you are saving?
        Do you know what temperature methane boils? And what would happen if it boils in the pipe?

    • It is pretty obvious that pipelines are the cheapest by every account, that’s why we build them despite the massive capital cost and hassle to get rid of oppositions.
      a 0.5 % slope (or equivalent in pumping) is more than enough to ensure the flow, and actually even less is used AFAIK. But let’s use this, as an upper bound
      L= 500 miles, equivalent drop at 0.5% slope = 2.5 miles = 4 km.
      Energy =mgh= 1000 kg x 9.81 m/s² x 4000 m = 39 MJ. Slightly more than 1/4 of a gallon energy content of gazoline.

      • It must be all down hill from Canada to Houston…
        Several years ago we met a lady who’s kids were out swimming in the Shenandoah river. She told her kids to be careful because the river was flowing backwards and going up hill. :<)

    • It is not just an issue of cost efficiency of tons/bbls of oil moved from pt A to pt B. Higher Safety of pipelines and less damaging spills in accidents/breaks is hard to put a dollar figure to.

    • a railroad tank car weighs about 65,000 lbs. and carries about 133,000 lb. of cargo. The locomotive weighs an average of 400,000 lbs. and it takes 2-3 to pull a 100 car train of oil, depending on the terrain. So the train has to move 7.2million lbs. of equipment to move 13.3 million lbs of oil.
      A pipeline has to move the same 13.3 million lbs. of oil, but the equipment itself doesn’t move. So as a rough estimate The pipeline would use about 65% of the energy of a train. A train generally would have several stops and starts. Pipelines rarely actually stop the flow of oil, using less energy.

      So a pipeline is substantially cheaper and safer. Once it’s built there are many fewer things that can go wrong than running fast, heavy trains on miles and miles of pretty fragile tracks through towns and cities. I don’t knock trains for safety though. They do every thing they can to run safely. We live in a small town with 10-20 100 car trains every day maybe a quarter mile from the house. They haven’t had a serious problem in 30 or more years.

      • “We live in a small town with 10-20 100 car trains every day maybe a quarter mile from the house.”

        Is that double track or single track?

        I used to run trains for the Katy Railroad. We were the busiest single-track railroad west of the Mississippi river. Only one other railroad in the country ran more trains than we did at that time (around 1984).

        I used to run about 10 trains every eight-hour shift.

        Then the Union Pacific railroad bought the Katy railroad and screwed things up royally with their method of operation (or lack thereof). The Katy could run circles around the UP. I guess that’s the difference between a small company of 1,500 employees verses a large bureaucratic organization with 15,000 emplyees. You could get something done on the Katy. You couldn’t get anything done on the UP without going through a huge hassle with the bureaucrats.

        On the first day the UP took over control of the Katy railroad, I went to work and as I arrived a train was just pulling into the train yard and stopped at the yard office where I was working and that train was still sitting there when I got off work eight hours later.

        The UP took over and the whole operation just came to a grinding halt. It was very frustrating for someone who was used to moving the freight. I hated working for the UP. No telling how many millions of dollars they waste every year with their inefficient operation.

        I quit working for the UP about a year later and went to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which I liked much better.

    • Efficiency comparison for pipelines versus rail is mainly a function of distance. I believe the Keystone cost numbers are approximately half the cost of rail.

      • If those number are close to accurate I’d guess there are going to be a few railroaders, both investors and employees, that are going to be a bit upset if/when they finish the Keystone.

      • Joe,
        One might be a certain Mr. Buffet, W., owner of some railroads . . .
        Possibly – of course.
        He may be very happy to see the crude moved more energy-efficiently.
        And more safely, even if his railroads have to lay off staff, etc. . . . .

        Auto

        Mods – do I really need a /SNARC on STEROIDS tag?

    • The railroads use a very misleading term, which is actually ton-miles per gallon. So the 500 ton-mpg is actually a 16,600 ton train [ typical of a 100 tank car train with 3 engines ], burning 33 gallons per mile, or 0.03 mpg.ref. http://www.arema.org/
      A diesel truck at 80,000 lb, [40 tons], will get about 6 mpg. So they can claim 240 T-mpg, But no trucking company claims they can move 1 ton , 240 miles on a gallon of fuel. It isn’t true.
      For comparison, a typical car of 3,000 lb with 4, 200 lb passengers, and a 30 mpg rating, yields 57 T-mpg.
      All of the above are meaningless terms.

      • Thanks James, I never really tried to figure out what they were talking about in those ads. I guess we can give another thumbs-down (or maybe just a finger) to marketing for that.

      • James H
        Thanks – but tonne-miles per unit [tonne of bunkers, usually] is exactly what shipping uses.
        Shipping also has more flexibility than pipelines – ships can be ordered to Aarhus rather than Zanzibar [of course, if the new destination port will accommodate the ship; oil tankers, bulk carriers, and more recently cruise ships, box boats and even Very Large LNG Carriers, have become very large creatures indeed].

        Auto

  9. Why don’t we build new efficient refineries right in the Bakken and in Wyoming and Montana? I’m proposing this in addition to KXL, not as an alternative.

    • We would still have to get the gasoline to the final destinations. The infrastructure for that already exists in th South. Your idea isn’t bad, just superfluous.

    • Distribution is kind of a moot point but infrastructure is valid. In addition to infrastructure, there are legal challenges to building refineries and probably laws that would need to be passed, but I have to believe that the effort would be worthwhile in the long run. Current refinery capacity and vulnerability is a problem.

  10. Does anyone here remember when the idea of conservation was because we were going to….RUN OUT OF OIL?

    As for pipelines…they are all over the place. It’s like the FED EX arrow–once you see it, you can’t unsee it. I know several people with one of them on their land–it’s a 6-8″ pipe that holds high pressure and runs from Canada to the south. It’s really no big freaking deal, isn’t “scarring” the landscape and is simply part of their property–albiet over on the side, it doesn’t run through their living rooms. That’s just an example.

    Quite honestly I like the idea of building refineries in other places. However, you don’t want a race to “build at the source” either…that I could see as well. But it makes sense to me anyway in the fashion of why haul water from a mile away, just move your house closer to the source.

    • Re: Scarring the landscape … Most pipeline builders exert great effort to have their lines be co located to existing transmission lines, existing pipelines (DAPL ran 22 feet away, laterally, from the Northern Border 42 inch pipeline emplaced in the “Sacred Ground” decades ago) or other infrastructure so as to minimize objections.
      Work normally requires 100 foot wide zones that revert to 50 foot wide strips whereby the only restriction is no tree or shrub growth allowed. Normal crop planting and harvesting is permitted and done all over the country.
      The 50 foot wide strips through forests are indistinguishable from fire breaks and are recognized as effective stimulants for wildlife increase as deer, et al, frequent these areas.

    • Yes, there are pipelines all over the place. Most people don’t know they exist, because nature has restored the “scar” so completely decades ago. Many of those pipelines have been in continued operation since WWII. They have run up and over mountain ranges, under rivers, through canyons, and survived earth quakes and floods. They have not harmed the environment significantly. The World War 2 pipelines were installed quickly during the war without exhaustive environmental impact studies, but have, nonetheless, proved safe. This despite not having the more advanced safety technology, such as advanced coatings, corrosion resistant materials, and welding advances and procedures available at the time. Most of these old pipelines are relatively small being 6″ or 8″. 25 years ago the Kern River pipeline went into operation. It is a 36-inch, high pressure, pipeline. It delivers copious amounts of natural gas from Wyoming to guess where? Southern Cali. That’s right. Without it the modern life styles enjoyed and taken for granted there would not be possible. Branching out from the Kern River main line are innumerable laterals taking economy sustaining natural gas where it is put to work.

      I agree, this anti-pipeline nonsense, is irrational.

  11. Another thought–yes I’m multiple posting–because this isn’t tied to the other:

    Lets talk about the production of Linen for a second shall we? For all of those that have no freaking idea what linen really is–it’s a plant that after harvesting, retting (rotting), hackling and spinning produces a beautiful fine fiber for weaving into cloth to make all kinds of things from sails to underwear. I think that every single ecoterrorist should work a linen crop and make a shirt. It doesn’t require much, about 1/2 acre on an established farm will produce 1 man’s shirt of average size in a semi-fineness weave (so not as nice as the current cotton/polyester blends but not as harsh as a Medieval Tunic (although there is debate on those). It takes 180 day from seed to harvest and then an additional 50-60 or so days to ret and process before spinning. Grand total of about 235 days (according to old log books on a really good crop). Once spun, it needs to be woven, the cloth cut, handsewn with either linen thread (again processed and about 1/4 acre for the thread). After you get a man’s shirt sewn completely then it needs to be washed, processed and mangled to give it softness. So lets sum up shall we? 1 man’s shirt requires 180 days to grow the fiber, another 50-60 days for processing, say about 10 -20 days to spin, 7-10 days to warp the loom and another 3-4 days to weave it off. 3-5 to cut, sew and fit the shirt and another 1 washing, drying and mangle. We’re up to 256 days if everything goes smoothly (and you have the time to do all of this every day for about 12 hours) to 269/270 if you have to take care of farm animals, feed yourself…etc. All for 1 shirt. Just 1. And that’s an everyday shirt too.

    Now what happens to the land? Well, because linen sucks all the nutrients out of the soil, it has to lay fallow for at least a year. So you get 1 shirt every other year.

    You tell me how many ecoterrorists are going to wear the SAME shirt every day for 2 years. Keep in mind that shirt has to last too, so you can’t wash it every single day and every washing cycle takes about a day in an of itself to properly keep the linen from breaking. I’ll bet you none. That is if they even get past the retting stage (which of course smells like rotting broccoli) or even the hackling–which is taking the fibers and running them through a few rows of really, really, really sharp freaking nails. Let alone the spinning process (which they would have to learn how to spin fine linen threads).

    I’ll bet after going through ALL of that–they’ll understand how nice that polyblend shirt they can go pick up at the store really is. Imagine if I had them make underwear instead. :) Polyester is made from the oil they hate so much. And anyone that has ever had to mangle linen or steam press it (only to have it wrinkle 5 minutes later) understands that oil is not such a bad thing.

    Just a thought.

    • And Hemp takes just as long–although it doesn’t suck all the nutrients out the way linen does. In fact, farmers would grow hemp in between linen crops to put nutrients back into the soil.

      If you are wondering about cotton–the current estimate is that a bumper crop of cotton needs about 3/4 – 1 acre for 1 shirt.

      Wool–you need 1 good sized 3-4lb fleece after washing–so that’s a breed bigger than a Shetland but smaller than a Natural Colored. Blue Faced Leicester or similar. Merino (depending on where they are raised) fleeces can be huge or on the smaller size–4-8lbs after washing.

      The point is, ecoterrorists have no freaking clue what it REALLY takes to make a single shirt. Just 1. And I’ll bet they have anywhere from 10 -20 T-shirts, undershirts and dress shirts in their closets (and they’d have to learn how to knit on really, really small needles because machine knits are on tiny, tiny needles). And that’s just shirts…pants? Whole other story there.

      Imagine they have to weave their own canvas tent (which by the way, canvas is a weave not a fiber)…say out of hemp and then make the ropes to tie it down with (whole other process). By the time they figured out how to spin the hemp, the pipeline would be built. :)

      • May I repost your two comments as a journal entry over at Deviantart? I want to shove it in some ecoterrorist faces.

      • @climateotter:

        Go for it. But don’t be surprised if you see jewel’s in their eyes of “what used to be”…then go find a picture of a HACKLE (preferable one that has rusted) and show them what that looks like. :) The sheer amount of back breaking work to even get a spinnable fiber will keep them from even pursuing it to say nothing of the tools that are used. As a fiber artist, Gawd save any burglar that tries to come into my house. I have fiber combs that look like Freddy Kruger’s hands and are sharper and more deadly.

        Here is my blog if you want to read more than you ever wanted to know about fiber production…

        https://jennrunion.tumblr.com/

      • Ummm … average US cotton production was over 700 pounds per acre a few years ago …that’s one heavy shirt !

      • @SweetOldBob:

        I should have a caveat to that cotton number–that was before modern cotton was bred and produced, Also that is for hand ginning and sorting, not mill.

      • @HotScott,
        You’re Welcome.

        Anytime anyone goes off about, “the good ole days” before evil Big Oil should be reminded that the ‘good ole days” were NOT all that good. An easy way to do that is to teach someone how to card wool and then after 10 minutes when they have a carded and usuable fiber (rollag) to tell them they would have to do that for 8+ hours a day and they’d have to produce 1 rollag every 2 minutes to even get paid for it or to be able to sell it to a spinner for 1/2 of a day of spinning. That is nothing compared to how much the spinner had to produce to keep the weaver weaving for 1 day. There is an old saying, it takes 4 spinners to keep 1 weaver at their loom for a day.

      • RE: “If you are wondering about cotton–the current estimate is that a bumper crop of cotton needs about 3/4 – 1 acre for 1 shirt.”

        In the Southwest US Well managed cotton farms produce anywhere from 2 to 4 bales per acre of cotton fiber per acre. In other words, 1000 pounds to a ton per acre. That is one REALLY big shirt. I don’t know whose “current estimate” you are using, but it’s wrong.

    • I think you’re overestimating spinning and weaving times. I can spin an ounce of yarn in an hour, easily. (And that’s a 40-50 minute hour, allowing for set up, changing bobbins, bathroom breaks, tea breaks, phone calls, cats, dogs, etc. — real world numbers. You’re lucky to get 40 minutes of productive time per elapsed hour for almost any activity.) I’m not a production spinner, I have friends who can spin at least twice as fast as that. You need 2lb or so of yarn for an average size shirt (allowing for loom waste and cutting, you can reduce loom waste by weaving longer and wider fabric). A production spinner could make that much yarn in 2 – 3 days.

      Warping a loom is a huge variable — depending on the size of the loom, length of warp, number of heddles, complexity of pattern, etc. Most of the weavers I know can put a 5 yard warp on a 3′ wide loom at 10 – 15 epi, in about a day. 2 days for a finer fabric or more complex pattern.

      Cutting, sewing, and fitting a shirt, again it depends. With a good serger and a sewing machine that will do buttonholes, a day, maybe two. Completely hand-sewn sure, 3 – 5 days.

      Remember, prior to the industrial revolution, people did this stuff all the time. They were very efficient at it. Sure, it took longer and was more labour-intensive than modern industrial production, but it wasn’t as bad as you’re making out. For starters, there was a huge amount of specialisation. A spinner wouldn’t also be the weaver or tailor. Fiber prep for linen, hemp, and wool was carried out by specialised craftspeople. Dyeing was a separate profession from either spinning or weaving. Weavers were guild workers, had an apprenticeship system, and all that, as did tailors. These are all concurrent processes, done by professionals. At least in Europe, going back to the early Middle Ages. It wasn’t anything like the pioneer, self- sufficient lifestyle of Little House on the Prairie. Europe was industrialised long before the Industrial Revolution — what changed with that was as much centralising production and using power machinery. People worked in factories instead of at home, and instead of being skilled craftspeople they became machine tenders — a lot less skilled work.

      • Hey another spinner and weaver on board! YEA. LOL

        I was a production spinner for a long time (over a decade) so my numbers are rather real when you lump processing into spinning time. :) Keep in mind that I was talking flax, a low spun fiber, but still it takes a long time to process it before you can get spinnable fiber and fill your distaff. I can fill a 4 oz bobbin of medium fine (say my default which was 2 ply sport weight) from prepped wool in about 1-2 hours if I’m not doing anything else(and that is on my great wheel which is faster than my modern flyer wheel)–but getting enough wool to spin prepped for that 2 hours, that took about 4-6 more of hand combing and carding. Flax takes a little while longer and depending upon the fineness of your spinning. So it wasn’t just sitting at the wheel and spin, prep takes a long time as well–and include winding off and finishing and it will take some time.

        As for weaving, 15 epi for an inexperienced weaver in prepared cotton will take a few days for any weave other than plain weave or a straight 2-2 twill, including warp prep, threading, sleying and tying on. Weaving the header, checking the sett..etc. all that takes time and it’s all weaving, not just putting on the warp and throwing the shuttle (plus you have added time to fill shuttle bobbins). Finishing before cutting also takes time especially with linen–which you want to weave semi wet or even in a humid environment to say nothing of the fact that with linen and silk you are talking a set of 30 -60 based upon fineness of the threads to produce a fabric that is semi-fine enough for the modern equivalent of a poly blend. So a few days(week) spinning and another week(s) weaving isn’t far fetched at all.

        The point wasn’t to be mired down in numbers, the point was to illustrate what it really takes to make 1 linen shirt of semi fine weave vs a cotton/poly or linen/poly blend you can pick up on Amazon with the click of a button (which is made from oil, will be shipped using oil and will arrive at your door with some type of oil packaging, be it the tape used on the box, the ink to print the label or within the label itself to say nothing of the power to run your computer and your internet router).

  12. It has nothing to do with “saving the planet” or whatever slogan. It is about power (the political srt). These so-called enviros are, if not Marxists, then totalitarian at heart.

  13. Paul,
    A Correction?

    “A new, shorter, more direct route – Keystone XL, running diagonally through Wyoming Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska …”

    • I believe that fusion is A wave of the future for energy–self sustaining or mostly self sustaining that is. But this? A reactor who’s components were kept as trade secrets and the cry for an investor to be able to investigate further?

      Something smells fishy and it’s not the lunch at the convention.

      Don’t get me wrong, cold fusion is something that may become science fiction made reality–but at a demonstration where components are pay to play? Come on…..

      • Cold fusion has been proved beyond all doubt with Palladium/Deuterium.
        You write: “but at a demonstration where components are pay to play? Come on…..”
        hat are you on about? Rossi has never received a dime from the public, unlike hot fusion.

        Any investor would measure the voltage across the reactor and the output of the power pack. This couldn’t be done at the demo without giving away the wave form to start and operate the reactor.

      • @Adrian,
        Did you read the entire article? The author says that in order for anyone to see the components, they have to be an investor…not those exact words, but that was my take on it. Maybe the author didn’t mean it that way, but that is how I read it.

        As for Rossi, don’t know. Might be onto something. This demo might lead someone to invest and he could be the next Westinghouse. He might be the uncelebrated genius of this century…but until he moves out of demo and into repeatable experimentation of his design and it’s function–it’s all going to be only a light show. That’s just how the world works. Great ideas are born every minute–but unless they can be verified and someone can stick a price sticker on it–they don’t go anywhere but onto the AS SEEN ON TV aisle at Walmart until their product’s life span is over and it gets moved to the clearance aisle OR it’s proven to work, it sells and it is moved to the regular merchandise department. Yes that is harsh…but it’s the truth.

      • Cold fusion has been proved beyond all doubt… whatever.
        No, it hasn’t. Show it.

        Any investor would measure…
        No, some investors apparently are very silly people, a scientist or an engineer would. But they would also measure all the inputs.

        …giving away the wave form to start and operate the reactor
        So what? Never heard of patents? No, Rossi doesn’t have one on the “reactor”.

      • Jenn, I don’t know why no “reply” button is shown after your next comment. I am replying to that.
        You write: “Did you read the entire article?”
        I wrote the article.

        Rossi does not want to give away the waveform used to start and operate the QX, So only someone who has signed a non disclosure form will be allowed to see it and do the measurements necessary to prove the QX performs as claimed.

        His current business plan is given in this link. He next public demo will be presenting the commercial rector. He is not asking anyone for money beyond his current investors so it is hard to see how it can be fraud.
        See http://e-catworld.com/2017/12/11/rossis-business-plan-for-the-e-cat/

    • Cold fusion?…. a funny oxymoron that also apparently doesn’t produce high speed neutrons. New theories in particle physics-standard model needed to explain that one.

      It’s simply pulp fiction.

      • I use the term cold fusion because the public doesn’t yet recognize LENR.
        Iy is not the same physics as hot fusion and doesn’t produce neutrons and harmful radiation.
        There are dozens of theories but none has yet been widely accepted.
        Since the demo, Rossi now has an investor to build the automated plant – he hopes by the end of 2018.

  14. They are anti-civilization, and yet do not go live on a tiny plot of land and give up their iPhone and internet. They could not possibly support themselves farming. They are anti-capitalism, yet assume that someone will give them a job (not a hard or sweaty job, a nice easy job). They reject the world as it is in favor of a fantasy, that if they just keep the oil in the ground, paradise will result (but it will really be starvation).

    • ccscientist

      To be fair, a few brave souls do abandon ‘westernisation’ and go ‘farming’.

      Secure in the knowledge there’s the safety net of ‘nasty’ capitalism they can fall back on if it all goes tits up.

      Nice to know we can all do some virtue signalling when there’s a hospital or a cop round the corner to help out when things get tough.

      • “It’s easy to find brave men behind castle walls,” as an old Welsh proverb says or something like it.

      • Terry Pratchett had it in “Good Omens”, regarding a “Back to Nature” Group:
        “Six months later, sick of the rain, the mosquitoes, the men, the tent-trampling sheep who ate first the whole commune’s marijuana crop and then its antique minibus, and by now beginning to glimpse why almost the entire drive of human history has been an attempt to get as far away from Nature as possible…”

    • “To be fair, a few brave souls do abandon ‘westernisation’ and go ‘farming’.”

      They seem to come and go in cycles.

      Back in the 1970s we had a bit of a plague of them out here in the Yorkshire Dales, a group of them would appear from a town, acquire a derelict farmhouse and some poor land, do a little bit of work in between smoking a lot of dope and generally they didn’t last more than one winter.

      We called it “SS on the SS” – Self Sufficiency on the Social Security.

  15. True believer Governor Brown of California on the current wildfires devastating the southern most part of his state “climate change MAY cause this to become the new normal” Climate Change is his rational for controlling economic activity, limiting personal freedoms, and beggaring the population to a higher cause. Replace climate change with the word God or God’s and the Enlightenment goes up in smoke. The political and scientific framework we are defending depends on defending thought against BS. It’s why we cannot be defeated.

  16. And a major railroad company moving a lot of oil in train cars in the US is BNSF. (Burlington Northern Santa Fe).

    BNSF is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Run by Obama pitchman with the line “my secretary pays tax at a higher % rate than me” , Warren Buffett. Not suggesting there’s any impropriety at all but it would seem to be in BNSF’s business interests to keep oil on the rails.

    And then there’s GE’s former CEO and Obama confidant, Jeffey Immelt. GE build engines for freight locomotives. No possible conflict of interest there either. Nope.

      • But someone keeps pushing (paying?) pipeline protesters who can go on for months with no visible means of supporting themselves.

    • Buffett spent about $500M on his BNSF infrastructure to handle crude, once the fix was in with the Obama administration, as Warren is not a risk taker. Another case of crony capitalism buying off government at the expense of the taxpaying consumer. Ditto ethanol, ditto wind, ditto shuttering perfectly good nuke plants.

  17. The hysterical comments from both sides are foolish. I’m buying a Tesla(actually 2), but not because of some crazy concern about so called hydrocarbons. It’s technology. Core processor design that runs the car I contributed to although the patent was sold(Stupid).

    It’s also for testing new tech in the vehicles communicating with each other independent independently of Tesla for my own development purposes. This will be interesting.

    EVs provide an interesting tech platform that ICE vehicles are more limited in. And Solar generation has become less expensive than coal or on par, but faster to deploy. New battery tech from flow to liquid mental utility scale options are more viable and in commercial use in sone places already.

    We don’t need subsidies for either hydrocarbon or so called “green” energy. Self healing micro-Grid infrastructure is clearly a direction that has been developing. One of my engineering resource contractors had worked on it for 18 years as a viable option. These trends are positive for the developing world from cost and deployment time standpoint. This tech will improve lives around the world.

    Reducing pollutants is a good thing and new products in solar cell manufacture recently dramatically change chemistries. The entire “global warming” debate was a wealth redistribution scam that’s now left China & India scrambling and I applaud Trump for pulling out of Paris Accord!

    The hysteria is not helpful and neither is surrendering to various interests that want to preserve the “buggy whip” business. If anything scaling of infrastructure, including the (my prediction) collapse of cloud computing market, will challenge and remake the Amazon, Google and Facebook companies. Mark my words, big consolidation and mega techs will be replaced sooner than later with nimble innovators and a more open environment. Totalitarians will suffer with these advances.

    The EV industry is already spawning shops growing up with people building from parts their own plug & ride vehicles. It’s just starting. Even thr cell smart phone biz is now blown open to smaller and smaller niche players as design and innovation is returning Many “garage inventors and makers” are entering markets big guys dominated. Apple and Samsung beware as even viable small scale new innovate OLED manufacture capability emerges and so on!

    The viability of the EV is not about being green it’s about technology and the garage inventors who can do more with an EV platform than an ICE one. Hydrocarbons are an important part of our modern economy, but with changing chemistries plastics industry also is changing and innovating with more nimble creative companies.

    America has the right mix to benefit from this evolving technology landscape! We’re on the cusp of a new revolution!

    • Hydrocarbons aren’t being subsidized.
      Solar and wind don’t reduce pollution, they just change the type of pollution.
      Electric cars don’t reduce pollution, they just push it off onto someone else.

  18. The boardwalk along Daytona Beach has been up and running and well lit since 1938. Sea turtles still use the beach to nest with their only real problem being egg poachers and cars. Yet not so long ago the environmentalists were pushing to have the boardwalk closed at night, a time with the local business along the walk made most of their money. The state almost caved to the enviros until sanity ruled and a little problem of having no data demonstrating the impacts of boardwalk lights specifically on turtles as is required by statute. The excuse of impacts to other threatened and endangered species have been used regularly by state agencies and their supporting outside environmental groups to try and slow or stop growth. What is amazing is that Florida has had for decades the largest environmental land buying program in the country, but it is just not enough even after the tens of millions spent for the environmentalists. Meanwhile when several of the land buying programs were originally proposed wiser, older legislators wanted the money be used to buy coastal/ beach front as the first priority. Why? To mitigate tropical cyclone damage when it ultimately happened.

    • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/15/collapse-of-global-warming-deception-triggers-variety-of-bailouts-and-revisionism/comment-page-1/#comment-2637687

      The Harvey Weinstein effect – a good analogy. Only now is it safe for people to speak out against the odious Weinstein, but it is not yet safe to speak out against global warming alarmism.

      There is ample evidence that the sensitivity of climate to increasing atmospheric CO2 is very low – and thus catastrophic manmade global warming (CAGW) is a false crisis. Global warming alarmism is a fictional fabrication and it is the greatest embezzlement, in dollar terms, in human history. I suggest that most academics who possess even average intellect know this my now, just as most screen actors knew about Weinstein and his casting couch.

      The majority of academics have not spoken out against global warming alarmism for obvious reasons:

      1. They know they can get grants if they support CAGW, and NO grants if they oppose it.

      2. They know that if they openly oppose CAGW, they will be ostracized by their peers and may be fired by their institutions.

      3. Many academics lean to the political left, because it is socially fashionable and because they are insulated from the economic destructiveness of leftist politics.

      4. Global warming alarmism is the new “front” for economic Marxists, who were discredited after the fall of the Soviet Union circa 1990
      Ref. Dr. Patrick Moore, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”, 1994, “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”
      http://ecosense.me/2012/12/30/key-environmental-issues-4/

      5. Academics as a group are not particularly courageous or principled – it is safer for them to do and say nothing that would threaten their comfortable existence.

      Regards, Allan

  19. Another post by a fossil fuel advocate. When are we going to get consistent posting about thorium molten salt reactor technology that makes drilling for fossil fuels and acquiring pipeline right-of-ways for thousands of miles totally unnecessary. And we could power all our ships with it, possibly trains and planes eventually.

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