Overheard on CNN.com: Pipeline benefits worth the risks?
Opponents of a proposed oil pipeline protest Tuesday near a San Francisco fundraiser attended by President Obama.
October 28th, 2011
05:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Pipeline benefits worth the risks?

Comment of the Day:

"It's getting harder and harder to like President Obama. But the Republican candidates are way too scary to support. What's a Progressive to do?"–IBON4IT

Green donors warn Obama: 'Do the right thing' on Keystone pipeline

Frustrated by what they see as President Barack Obama's failure to honor his environmental promises, former campaign donors are threatening to withdraw financial support if he fails to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline. CNN.com readers talked about their political choices, and argued over whether the economic benefits of the pipeline were worth the environmental risks.

longtooth said, "The choice is clear. You can support Obama, who at least admits the possibility of global warming and our role in it, or you can abandon him, and give the White House to Romney, Perry, Cain, or one of the others in the Flying Republican Circus."

757Matt said, "Given the current global economic issues and our continued dependence on foreign oil - unless the government is going to buy everyone a hybrid - it makes sense to sign this bill."

No9 said, "I am a Democrat, with solar panels on my roof, wind power for the rest of my electric, and a high mileage car. I support this pipeline. The product will be sold to someone. Why not us? Don't you want to buy from a friendly country? This is crazy, build it now."

mgcanmore, who identified as a geologist, said, "Protesting this pipeline is irrational. Transporting hydrocarbons has a small inherent risk regardless of how you do it: tankers, trucks, rail or pipeline. Here we have a huge source of North American oil - second only to Saudi Arabia - and these protesters want to shut it down."

But TruthToTell said, "It's not just the threat from the pipeline itself, the oil will be dirty oil from tar sands, the production and then the refining of which produce a double whammy to the environment. Clinton's State Department out-sourced its "review" of Keystone XL pipeline this year to a corporation that is a close business associate of Keystone. The results were predictable - 'the project is simply peachy.'"

eadfrmfront said, "The pipeline helps lessen American dependence on Middle East oil and will create thousands of jobs."

SKSPLS asked, "Why does Trans Canada want to build a tar sands oil pipeline all the way to the Gulf coast? The intent is to ship the refined products to more lucrative overseas markets, thereby negating any effect the pipeline might have with regard to U.S. foreign oil dependence."

frflyer said, "Alberta tar sands is the most destructive project on the planet. It produces 2-3 times the CO2 emissions of normal oil production. It is endangering the Athabascan River watershed, one of the most important in North America. It is endangering the Canadian Boreal Forest, one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, as well as being one of the biggest carbon sinks on the planet."

SeriousDude said, "We have a very short-term mentality in this country, so environmental issues almost always get pushed to one side when someone raises energy or jobs or virtually anything as a short-term expedient. Jobs and energy can usually be obtained by alternate means; a destroyed environment is often lost for ever."

Busted2010 said, "Poisoning ground water in a state whose economy relies heavily on agriculture is not pro-job growth."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

For those of you who would like to share news and comments that may be off topic, there is now a site where you can do just that. Here's the link:

Open Thread: Talk about the news

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. bobcat2u

    @banasy
    Wow that man is wearing me out already today.
    Also, we need some new stories to post on. How about it CNN ?
    Like we're going to stay on topic anyway.

    October 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    @bobcat:
    Lol.
    Yeah, he'ws quite prolific in his name-stealing.
    CNN doesn't usually post new stories on the weekend, even though it's a 24-hour news outlet.

    October 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat2u

    @banasy

    Where's everybody at today ?

    October 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Bobcat:
    I don't know.
    I suspect my little buddy is writing his fantasies down, his "evidence", so he can "let it rain" down on me.

    Or, maybe everyone is bored with these stories, too.

    In any case, *yawn*.

    October 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tony In Largo

    It's plain and simple to me that Republicans have obstructed President Obama's attempts to help get the economy on its feet again. I will simply redouble my efforts to obtain a Senate and a Congress that will legislate for Americas biggest resource: the American Worker AND its Industry, NOT just its big CORPORATIONS and I shall vote for President Obama and any Democrat running for office again.

    Having said that, it must be understood that: With 1.8 Billion unemployed human beings in China & India who will work for less than $1 Dollar per day, corporations will continue to take jobs overseas. No jobs will be created in the manufacturing sector in the US and few if any in the service sector because no one will have money to spend on vacations, including Europeans, South Americans, or Middle Easterners. Corporations will continue to serve themselves with the cheap labor, even with any new developments or inventions requiring manufacturing. No stop gap measures will help with unemployment, including tax breaks for corporations because that is not at the root of the problem. The only way that jobs will be created will come as the result of the fear by corporations that they will lose the US, European, South American and Middle Eastern Markets if they don't comply with the ultimatum to infuse 50% of the labor, (here or in any of the other areas mentioned previously), into all of the products sold here or there. In other words, the economic recovery must be preceded by a paradigm shift in policy that will serve as the basis for the modification of all of the global trade agreements. That paradigm shift must be initiated by a foreign policy pronouncement with which, I'm sure, all of Europe and the Middle East will be in agreement. The Middle East will be in agreement because their so called "Arab Spring" is nothing more than protests due to unemployment of 50% and higher, as are the economic woes of Europe whose government budget deficits are due to lower tax revenues from loss of industry and the jobs that go with them. "IF THEY WANT TO SELL HERE THEY MUST INFUSE 50% OF THE LABOR INTO EACH PRODUCT, HERE". Nothing else is going to work. The handwriting is on the wall. Let's wake-up and smell the roses.!!!

    October 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • slider

      Seems like our pres. has a dream of America becoming a bankrupt and socialist nation. Will we have a say in which collective we get sent to as a worker for the new world order.

      October 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      Until the day comes when we stop fighting all these useless and unnecessary wars overseas, cut the needless and excessive military spending and make the wealthy pay their share of the taxes, the economy will remain pretty much at a standstill. Yet, most people are just too friggin' ignorant to get it, much to my chagrin!!!

      October 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Thank you, RUFFNUTT. You nailed it here. Either people are just too ignorant like you say or the right-wing news media has been only too successful at brainwashing them! Moreover, I just wish that all these name-stealing, ignorant Tea Partying trolls would for one time quit vomiting their off-the-topic, meaningless and unfunny comments here!!!

      October 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joseelr

    American nimbyism real threat to Canada

    Diane Francis, Financial Post · Oct. 29, 2011 | Last Updated: Oct. 29, 2011 4:09 AM ET

    The United States has become the world's ultimate Banana Republic, a nation choked by the "Build-Absolutely-Nothing-Anywhere-Near-Anyone" people who prowl its corridors of power.

    This, more than any Greek, Euro or banking crises, threatens Canadian living standards.

    America's political gridlock afflicts all forms of industrial or energy development. It is harming U.S. living standards and job creation that indirectly hurts Canada because of the close economic partnership. More specifically, the Banana mentality is threatening Canada's critically important oil sands and the building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline to bring 700,000 barrels a day of new production to the U.S. market.

    The line has become a cause célèbre for the naysayers, activists, anarchists and their legions of lawyers who manipulate America's complicated political system, courts and the media to cripple energy and economic development in the name of environmentalism.

    The pile-on has been especially dramatic, considering that the oil sands are nowhere as noxious in terms of emissions than other American energy sources. Another victim is shale gas drilling in North America which provides natural gas at emissions which are a fraction of other energy sources.

    What's behind these battles is not the electorate but the rise, since the UN Copenhagen climate change fiasco, of a well-oiled, transnational environmentalism movement.

    Borderless NGOs, with funds and contacts, have deputized themselves to impose a planetary agenda anywhere they choose to do so. In the past, environmental opposition has been locally based which made its participants accountable to the electorate, or back down, when their demands cost jobs or excessive damages to others or to the economy.

    This transnational phenomena is a power unto itself. It scours the world for causes, except where it cannot generate headlines or results such as China, India, Russia or Appalachia where environmental degradation really is serious.

    Instead, they have gone where the action, and publicity, is best and targets easy to pick off. Their favorite is the world's biggest Banana Republic.

    For Canadians, this is not just about a pipeline. Defeat of the Keystone Pipeline proposal will orphan Canada's only economic trump card for years or forever. It will hurt mining, Canada's underpinning, in general. It will lead to stopping the exploitation of shale gas, with its low emissions, because it will prevent the building of pipelines to bring the resource to consumers. The prevention of Keystone will be the thin edge of the wedge and block the building of any pipelines anywhere near anyone.

    (Just to clarify, Alberta's oil sands emissions are currently less than those generated by tiny Wisconsin's coal-fired power generation plants.)

    The question is: Why are these groups not forming human chains around America's coal plants and launching their own Occupy Coal Plant movement? These are collectively the world's greatest polluters, making China's smokestacks look like Sweden's emissions.

    They don't address the coal problem because they cannot win it. They pick their battles carefully and Canada, without any votes in the Senate or House of Representatives, is the current favourite target.

    It is getting worse as more oil sands critics come on board: actor Robert Redford, some Nebraska politicians and the European Union.

    The Euros have been bashing oil sands for years, but recently the European Commission said it plans to class fuel from oil sands as highly polluting and suggest a ban on imports.

    This week, Nebraska's Governor said he wants to redirect the route the Keystone pipeline has plotted through the state. This would trigger a legal battle between the state and federal government over jurisdiction that would cost years and millions.

    The Keystone issue is also caught up in the presidential election cycle and the White House is going to decide by the end of the year whether to issue a permit to start construction. The pipeline has received all necessary regulatory approvals.

    This is "part of a co-ordinated effort to stall a decision on whether or not the Keystone XL pipeline should receive a presidential permit to begin construction of this vital piece of North American energy infrastructure," TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard

    said in a statement. "The real issue is does this proposed pipeline meet U.S. regulatory standards to be constructed and operated to deliver oil."

    But the opponents never rest. There was the letter-writing campaign against oil sands equipment being transported along Montana highways into Alberta. There was a recent screed in Al Jazeera, whose roots are in the oil-rich Arabian peninsula, by a writer named Dahr Jamail who called Keystone a "pipeline of poison" and the project an environmental disaster.

    By the way, the targets are not always fossil fuels from the Canadian oil sands or deep shale deposits. Environmentalists pick on anything that yields publicity.

    There is a green-on-green battle in California's Mojave Desert over the development of gigantic solar farms. The first and biggest is environmental darling, BrightSource Energy, whose 3,600-acre project called the Ivanpah is under fire from greens over the few dozen tortoises who live on its site. Estimates by biologists are that 162 adult tortoises and 608 juveniles may live on the site.

    That revelation caused federal officials to halt construction in April. Building proceeded after undertakings were obtained. These include allocation of a $45-million budget to mitigate risks for the tortoises, the employment of 40 full-time biologists and a "head start" program for hatchling and juvenile tortoises in which they are taken care of for at least five years to better their chances of surviving in the wild.

    No kidding.

    dfrancis@nationalpost.com

    October 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Absolutely well said!

      The greatest tragedy of America today is the polarizing positions of politicians and the ignorant Americans who support them. What is of DIRE NEED for America today is a centrist force who can look at things from a non-political angle and make decisions based on RISK Vs. COST BENEFIT point of view. Such an approach is crucial given that every decision has its pros & cons.

      Also any decision need to take into consideration America's mounting DEBT & UNEMPLOYMENT both of which are relegating America (& also Europe) as the newest members of the THIRLD WORLD!

      Add to this the THIRD DIMENSION of America's SUBJUGATION as you very rightly pointed out when you said "There was a recent screed in Al Jazeera, whose roots are in the oil-rich Arabian peninsula, by a writer named Dahr Jamail who called Keystone a "pipeline of poison" and the project an environmental disaster."

      This covert effort is led by Islamic supporters such as CNN's Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA, Imam Rauf, Rashad Hassan, Dean ObeidAllah etc., some of whom are outside advisors to NAIVE OBAMA. These people are working day & night to enhance the pace of ISLAMIZATION of Europe, and eventually America, all the while pretending to be ARDENT AMERICAN PATRIOTS ensuring that mighty America is brought down on its knees!

      Unless we see through these evil designs, and come up with a sensible approach AMERICA'S DOOM IS ALMOST ASSURED, the only question is how long would that take!

      Amit-Atlanta-USA

      November 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    If we are serious about stopping the FAREED ZAKARIA, Imam Rauf, Rashad Hassan, Dean ObeidALLAH led ISLAMIZATION of Europe and America, and stopping the Saudi funding for worldwide Islamic Terror, BUILD THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE RIGHT NOW!

    November 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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