Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Technological advances make the Keystone XL pipeline safer than alternatives

My Dad loves to read Fox News, and he sent me this article about the technology behind the Keystone XL pipeline. We got into a good discussion on this article, too. My Dad used to be a big believer in big government, but now he only cares about what problems the private sector can solve.

The article says:

The Obama administration continues to block the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would transport nearly 35 million gallons of oil a day from Canada to the U.S., citing environmental concerns as the reason. But according to pipeline advocates, it would use the latest technology and best safety features to prevent spills.

Advanced steel is part of it. The current part of the Keystone pipeline that already exists uses 2,638 miles of hardened steel built to “withstand  impact from a 65-ton excavator with 3.5-inch teeth,” according to TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone pipeline.

The steel is also coated with alloys to prevent it from wearing out.

“They use all kinds of methodologies to reduce friction. Corrosion inhibition is pretty sexy stuff in this business,” Eric Smith, associate director of Tulane University’s Energy Institute, told FoxNews.com

Pumping stations are another critical part. All along the pipeline, pumps move the oil using centrifugal force: a motor spins and forces oil to the edges of the pump, which causes more oil to rush forward to take the place of the oil pulled to the edges.

Each pump has 6,500 horsepower – meaning that the pump exerts an amount of power roughly equivalent to that of 6,500 horses. Total pumping power on the existing pipeline is nearly half a million horsepower, according to TransCanada.

Another critical technology is leak detection systems. The existing Keystone pipeline, for instance, has sensors that collect data from 20,000 different points along the pipeline.

If a leak occurs anywhere along the pipeline, the pressure in the pipeline changes, and TransCanada notes that such changes travel through the pipeline at the speed of sound and so can be detected nearly instantly.

The company adds that the pipeline has “fail-safe” mechanisms that automatically reduce oil pressure in the pipeline to safe levels.

TransCanada also has airplanes monitor the pipeline from the sky, using both the eyes of human pilots and a “Laser Spectroscopy Unit” that shoots a laser near the pipeline and then analyzes the reaction of whatever material is hit by the laser beam. TransCanada says this is “capable of identifying tiny methane leaks at patrol altitudes.”

The human pilots also catch things. TransCanada reports that one of its pilots once noticed that a circus in Kansas had tethered an elephant to a pipeline stake, which posed a potential threat.

All the layers of security help, say experts.

“It’s a belt-and-suspenders kind of approach. You just don’t want even minute leaks,” Smith said, adding that pipelines are the safest way of moving oil across land.

Pipelines are actually much safer than transporting the oil by train, which is the method favored by environmentalist opponents to Keystone XL:

According to a 2006 study by Environmental Research Consulting using Department of Transportation data, pipelines have spilled far less than trucks or railroads per ton of oil transported.

Critics of President Obama’s delay of the Keystone XL construction say the holdup actually makes everyone less safe, as oil producers instead rely on comparatively dangerous railroads for transportation. From 2008 to 2013, the amount of oil transported by rail skyrocketed from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 41 times that – 407,642 – in 2013.

My big point to my Dad about this is how the private sector responds to the desires of customers on their own, developing solutions for the people who they expect to buy their products. The government spends 2 billion on the Obamacare web site, and forces people to use it. They can never develop anything people actually want to buy. Government just taxes, regulates and restricts the businesses who seek to solve problems for customers.

It’s the private sector businesses who are the real heroes to customers – making the things that we want and need and competing with other businesses to sell the most quality at the lowest price. They even find solutions to our concerns about the environment, if we let them, because that is part of pleasing the customer, too. If we had to wait on public school teachers, politicians, Hollywood clowns and academics to innovate, we would be waiting a long time indeed. I stand with private sector business, and the free-market system in general.

UPDATE: Holy snouts. For the first time in 6 years I am actually proud of Obama for doing something:

The Obama administration has opened a new front in the global battle for oil market share, effectively clearing the way for the shipment of as much as a million barrels per day of ultra-light U.S. crude to the rest of the world.

The Department of Commerce on Tuesday ended a year-long silence on a contentious, four-decade ban on oil exports, saying it had begun approving a backlog of requests to sell processed light oil abroad. It also issued a long-awaited document outlining exactly what kinds of oil other would-be exporters can ship.

The administration’s first serious effort to clarify an issue that has caused confusion and consternation in energy markets for more than a year will likely please domestic oil drillers, foreign trade partners and some Republicans who have urged Obama to loosen the export ban, which they see as an outdated holdover from the 1970s Arab oil embargo.

The latest measures were wrapped in regulatory jargon and couched by some as a basic clarification of existing rules, but analysts said the message was unambiguous: a green light for any company willing and able to process their light condensate crude through a distillation tower, a simple piece of oilfield kit.

“In practice this long-awaited move can open up the floodgates to substantial increases in exports by end 2015,” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York said in a research note.

[…]By opening the door to U.S. crude exports, the administration is offering a bit of relief to some domestic drillers that have said that they are forced to sell their shale oil at a discount of as much as $15 a barrel versus global markets as fast-rising domestic supplies overwhelm local demand.

Let’s hope Obama signs the Keystone XL pipeline in the new year, too. That will help people so much and hurt our enemies, Russia, Venezuela and Iran. There are ways to fight wars without firing a shot, and this is how you do it – he looks like Ronald Reagan, now. Well done, Barack Obama! Finally!

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Universities limiting student employment to comply with Obamacare

Well, they are certainly getting what they voted for – but good.

Campus Reform has the story.

Excerpt:

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is restricting student work because of compliance issues associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

In an email last week, MTSU President Sidney McPhee explained that “due to our interpretation of the reporting requirements of ACA,” graduate assistants, adjunct faculty members, and resident assistants are barred from working on-campus jobs that exceed 29 hours of work per week.

Now, they cannot take on multiple campus jobs.

“[E]ffective beginning with the fall semester, we will no longer allow part-time employees, or those receiving monthly stipends from the university, to accept multiple work assignments on campus,” the email stated.

McPhee noted that violations of the law “could add up as high as $6 million” in penalties.

The Daily News Journal reports that graduate assistants are now restricted from picking up research work funded through grants to the university.

[…]As Campus Reform previously reported, the University of Kansas has reduced the number of hours student employees can work from 30 hours per week to 20, a move to ensure compliance with the ACA.

“The revised [KU] policy seeks to balance the necessity for students to make academic progress while managing potential fiscal liabilities with ACA,” Diane Goddard, KU vice provost for administration and finance wrote in an email early this month.

[…]Since 2012, at least 111 colleges and universities have limited adjunct professor course loads, capped student employment hours, or reduced hours for part-time faculty according to a list compiled by Investor’s Business Daily.

Advice for college students: next time you vote, don’t pay so much attention to what your liberal professors tell you about big, bad conservatives. Do your own research, make up your own mind. Think about what is best for you – ask yourself who is paying for all these happy-sounding promises that you hear from the left. We’ve borrowed 7 trillion dollars since Obama took office. You’re paying for it, so stop adding to it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

How the green movement makes war on jobs and the poorest Americans

This article by Stephen Moore from Investors Business Daily is important, because it shows that there is a cost to environmentalist advocacy.

Excerpt:

Last month we saw firsthand one impact of Big Green on our economy with the White House announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline won’t be built for at least six more months.

Ten thousand blue collar jobs, almost all paying more than $50,000 a year, down the drain.

It’s a project that polls show almost all Americans want, except for the deep-pocketed green elite in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

Then the Los Angeles Times recently warned that electricity prices could be driven upward in California and other states due in part to renewable energy mandates that cause electric power shortages and spike prices paid by homeowners.

Meanwhile, around the country, from Seattle to Bangor, Maine, property owners are locked into fights with green groups preventing people from building on their land in responsible and productive ways.

Out West, the Endangered Species Act has become an Endanger the Oil and Gas Industry Act, as energy companies confront higher regulatory hurdles and bans on development on potentially tens of millions of acres.

Whole communities that depend on natural resource development are being wiped out.

Big Green is already fast at work wiping out America’s coal industry, with entire mining towns nearly shut down in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, thanks to the left’s war on coal. These are small towns where the median household income is often less than $40,000 a year. Liberals used to pretend to care about these people.

[…]In fact, the environmental movement’s entire agenda — stop fracking, stop coal development, stop pipelines, stop nuclear energy, stop drilling on federal lands, require expensive “renewable energy,” enact cap-and-trade schemes, impose carbon taxes, and on and on — victimize poor and middle-class Americans the most. Rich donors to the Sierra Club get hardly a scratch from these policies to save the planet.

If you ask most Americans whether they are more worried about global warming or having a job, they’ll say having a job is more important. Paying less for electricity is more important. Paying less for gas for their car is more important. The only people who don’t care are the rich. But not just any rich – the Hollywood rich. The people who have no idea how the economy works. If only young people and the middle class could realize what the real price tag is for all this fine environmentalist rhetoric. Maybe we should be telling them how environmental policies affect their day-to-day lives.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obamacare in action: Denny’s to charge 5% surcharge and cut employee hours

Story here from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

President Obama’s election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power – but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny’s and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers’ bills and will reduce his employees’ hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is ‘the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.’

The fast-food business owner is set to hold meetings at his restaurants in December where he will tell employees, ‘that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.’

I think it’s a terrible thing. It’s ridiculous that the maximum hours we can give people is 28 hours a week instead of 40,’ said Metz to the Huffington Post.

‘It’s going to force my employees to go out and get a second job.’

Obamacare requires businesses or franchises with more than 50 workers must offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30 workers.

The program mandates that only employees working more than 30 hours a week are covered under their employers health insurance plan, chains like Olive Garden and Red Lobster are already considering reduced worker hours.

‘Obviously, I’d love to cover all our employees under that insurance,’ said Metz.

‘But to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don’t make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.’

Claiming that he is not anti-insurance Metz has said that he understands the problems this will cause for his employees.

Several other restaurants including Papa John’s, Apple Metro and Jimmy John’s have announced plans to skirt Obamacare by reducing employees hours to make them part-time.

[…]Earlier this week Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter told shareholders in a conference call this week that Obamacare would cost the company 11 to 14 cents per pizza, a cost that would be passed on to customers.

My hope is that many of the people who voted for Obama will face these higher prices. But they are probably too stupid to connect cause to effect. After all, you don’t learn about economics by watching “Dancing with the Stars” and MTV. My big fear is that after Obama inflates the gas prices with his energy regulations carbon taxes, the insurance prices with his regulations and taxes, and so on, that the people will turn against business and demand communism. I pray that it doesn’t go that far, but many Americans are so bad at understanding economics these days.

Related posts

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Papa John pizza CEO: cuts to employee hours likely, because of Obamacare

Fox News reports. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The CEO of popular pizza chain Papa John’s says his employees may face reduced hours and he expects his business costs to rise because President Obama’s re-election most likely insures the president’s health care reform law will be implemented in full.

NaplesNews.com reports John Schnatter made the remarks to a small group at Edison State College’s Collier County campus the day after the election.

Schnatter, who supported Mitt Romney in the election, said all Americans having health insurance under ObamaCare is a good, but estimates the change will cost Papa John’s $5 million to $8 million annually.

Schnatter estimated that these rising costs could adversely affect his workers. Since only full-time employees working 30 hours or more must be covered under the new law, he said he expects franchise owners will be forced to cut employees’ hours because they can’t afford the costs of health insurance plans.

“That’s probably what’s going to happen,” he said according to NaplesNews.com. “It’s common sense. That’s what I call lose-lose.”

The comments were not Schnatter’s first statements on ObamaCare. He made headlines in August for telling shareholders the law may lead to increases in the price of his pizza.

In addition, the Applebee’s family restaurant chain is under public attack, including the threat of boycotts after New York-area franchisee Zane Tankel told Fox Business Network that cost increases related to implementing ObamaCare might result in no expansion or additional hiring. Critics appear to have interpreted Tankel’s comments to mean he will layoff customers as a result of ObamaCare.

It’s too bad that Obama’s policies will hurt people who want to work for a living, but it’s a hard lesson that we all need to learn: socialism means that we have higher unemployment, less take home pay, lower quality goods, and higher prices. It means having less prosperity and less liberty. And we voted for it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,892,686 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,419 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: