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Keystone pipe dream, or pipeline?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9587

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may like this bit of bi-partisan sleaze from the rail company:

Quote:
CSX Corp., the company whose oil train derailed, caught fire and exploded in Fayette County on Monday, is a prodigious political donor, giving millions of dollars to politicians of both parties, around the country and in West Virginia, and spending millions more every year to lobby those politicians after they’ve been elected.

Until 2015, every person elected to federal office in West Virginia, since at least 1990, had received money from the $35 billion transportation company, according to federal records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

CSX Corp.’s political action committee has given nearly $53,000 to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., since Capito got to Congress. That includes donations in every election cycle since 2000.

After the Kanawha Valley chemical leak last year, Capito said she would donate to charity the money that a Freedom Industries’ owner had given to her campaign, although that was only $500.

“In her more than 14 years in Congress, Senator Capito has always put West Virginians’ interests first. This terrible accident is no different,” stated Capito spokeswoman Amy Graham in response to questions about the CSX donations.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in Congress since only 2010, has gotten $30,700 from CSX.

“The senator has never allowed political donations to influence his decision making and he will continue to work with federal, state and CSX officials to determine the cause of this derailment and work to fix the problem so it never happens again,” said Jonathan Kott, Manchin’s spokesman.

The biggest West Virginia recipient of the railroad company’s largesse was former Rep. Nick Rahall, who for his last four years in office, was the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rahall got more than $62,000 from CSX since 2000, including more than $22,000 in last year’s election.

Rahall lost last year to Rep. Evan Jenkins. Neither Jenkins nor his fellow Republican freshman, Rep. Alex Mooney, received money from CSX in 2014, but if history is any guide that will change in the 2016 elections.

The company’s PAC, officially called the CSX Corporation Good Government Fund, was a fairly consistent donor to former Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va. The PAC gave him $2,000 in 2002, $1,000 in 2006 and $1,000 in 2008. Then Mollohan lost the 2010 election and suddenly CSX’s allegiances switched. It gave $5,000 to Mollohan’s successor, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., in 2012.

McKinley did not respond to a request for comment. In total, he has received $9,500 from CSX affiliated groups and individuals since 2010, when he was first elected.

Similarly, before CSX became a consistent donor for Capito, the company gave money to her Democratic predecessor, Rep. Bob Wise, during every election cycle in the 1990s.

CSX’s bipartisan political beneficence isn’t limited to West Virginia. The corporation tends to favor Republican candidates (61 percent of its $2.5 million in 2014 donations went to Republicans), but its single biggest beneficiary in 2014 was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which got nearly twice as much as its Republican counterpart.

In the 2010 elections, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, CSX donated more money to Democrats than Republicans, the only time it has done that since 1990.

“The company has lobbied heavily to protect its interests and its political action committee and employees typically give more money to the party in power,” the Center for Responsive Politics writes of CSX. Out of nearly 17,000 corporations and organizations that made political contributions in 2014, CSX was the 91st biggest donor, according to CRP.

CSX’s political spending doesn’t end once politicians get elected.

Since 1998 it has spent a minimum of $2 million every year lobbying Congress.

“CSX has spent millions of dollars lobbying against bills that would strengthen railroad antitrust laws, as well as bills that would give the federal government more power of oversight and regulation,” CRP wrote.

In total, CSX has spent more than $56.5 million on lobbying since 1998.

The company’s lobbyist spending peaked at more than $5 million in 2009, when it lobbied heavily against two major transportation bills.

One of the two major bills would have reauthorized funding for the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates, among other things, the economic activity of railroads.

In addition to funding the STB, it would have made it an independent organization, separate from the Department of Transportation, and it would have required the nation’s largest railroad companies to regularly report on their service and performance.

The bill had bipartisan support — two Democratic co-sponsors and two Republican co-sponsors in the Senate — but it never came close to passing.

The bill’s lead sponsor was former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Rockefeller, perhaps unsurprisingly, received relatively little support from CSX — just $2,500 since 2000, and nothing after 2009 when he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

In comparison, Rockefeller’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who chairs the House Transportation Committee, got $25,600 from CSX in 2014 alone.

CSX has lavished special attention on Shuster’s committee. Of its 50 incumbent members, 44 received donations from CSX in 2014.

All told, the corporation gave money to 313 federal candidates or officeholders in 2014, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the seats in Congress.

Reach David Gutman at david.gutman@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5119 or follow @davidlgutman on Twitter.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150218/GZ01/150219266/1419#sthash.75vKrBWA.MRrhjTR9.dpuf
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pointster



Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 376

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Techno900’s post on Feb 17 was not on rail safety in general, but on oil train safety:

“Pipelines or trains, which would you prefer? This is only one of many oil train derailments in the last few years. And yes, oil will still be moved by trains regardless of the number of pipelines, but pipelines are safer.”

That quote was preceded by an account of the derailment and explosion of a train carrying Bakken crude in West Virginia. In that context, it is relevant to consider the risk involved in transporting various types of crude by rail. Tar sands crude from Canada is very thick and not very volatile. If the train had been carrying that kind of crude, there almost certainly would not have been an explosion or fire.

Bakken crude, as it is being shipped today, has a high vapor pressure and is very flammable. New rules imposed by North Dakota as of April 1, 2015 will require Bakken crude to be treated to reduce its volatility and make it safer to transport by rail. "Our crude oil leaving North Dakota will behave like the gasoline you put in your car," Lynn Helms, the head of the Department of Mineral Resources, which came up with the recommendations, told the commission. By comparison, tar sands crude is more like asphalt.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/13/north-dakota-oilstandards-idUSL2N0T32F420141113

The Bakken field has developed very quickly in a regulatory environment that hasn’t kept up. Still, it must be recognized that the oil companies have very competent engineers who understand the characteristics of their products and the rail transport system, and have chosen to ship the Bakken crude by rail, knowing the risks to the public. The oil companies could have chosen on their own to reduce the volatility of the crude for shipment, but chose not to do so, and must accept their share of the responsibility for the resulting fires and explosions.

The safety record of rail shipment of Bakken crude should not be used when considering the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The appropriate metric should be the safety record of rail shipments of tar sand. To date, I don’t believe there have been any major spills, fires or explosions. On the other hand, there have been failures of pipelines carrying heavy crude and dilbit (diluted bitumen). To flow properly, these heavy crudes must be heated to 130-150 degrees F. These pipelines experienced more external corrosion, which was the cause of failure.

So, in the case of shipping tar sands oil, there doesn’t seem to be clear cut choice as to which is safer.

The real problem with tar sands oil is that it despoils the environment, and uses almost as much energy to extract a barrel of tar sands crude is you get from burning it.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9587

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A thoughtful post Poinster. But there is a bit more. Having dealt with both oil companies and railroad companies in a regulatory environment, they share one characteristic. They minimize the amount that they spend on maintenance of their physical plant, and resist outside pressures reflexively. In California, the rail companies are even more hidebound and bureaucratic than the military, if that can be believed. Trying to get them to replace a bridge that has washed out with one that will be more resistant to washouts was nearly impossible.

The careless approach to maintenance that ensures the safety of their workers and neighbors by Chevron in Richmond, and in all likelihood Exxon in Torrance, and the shippers of Bakken crude, are characteristic of the know-it-all attitude of the oil companies. Engineering skills not withstanding, these decisions are profit based and arrogant. Well on display on this forum. Transfer costs and risks to the public for greater profits. Oil companies at work. Republicans helping them wherever they can.
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uwindsurf



Joined: 18 Aug 2012
Posts: 968
Location: Classified

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/24/politics/obama-keystone-veto/index.html
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 4178
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stupid is as stupid does.
Thanks Walter for the update, we had no idea.

_________________
I don't drink the 'cool' aid, I drink tequila, it's more honest.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9587

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Republicans have neither the votes, nor a clue.
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uwindsurf



Joined: 18 Aug 2012
Posts: 968
Location: Classified

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nw30 wrote:
Stupid is as stupid does.
Thanks Walter for the update, we had no idea.


I agree, "Stupid is as stupid does."

I was able to goad you into responding.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9587

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/06/29/after-3-billion-spent-keystone-xl-cant-get-oil-companies-to-sign-on.html
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9587

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I predicted this. I've seen a lot of soft money projects come and go.

Quote:
TransCanada Corp. said it's canceling plans to build its Energy East pipeline, which would have shipped 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to the Atlantic coast. TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling did not specify reasons, but growth in Canada's oil sands - which are expensive to develop - has slowed with lower oil prices, and the proposed pipeline faced stiff environmental opposition in Quebec. (The Associated Press)
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