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US Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Tar-Sand Pipeline From Canada

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posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 08:38 PM
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The Link



Despite the pleas of activists, the State Department has allowed plans for a pipeline that will transfer oil from Canada's notorious tar sands to the US. As you likely know, oil from tar sands is considered to be among the dirtiest kinds of oil there is--it emits three times the carbon that typical crude does. Now, a coalition of environmental groups, led by the Sierra Club, has filed a lawsuit against the State Dept. to stop it.


I am really torn on this issue. First off I understand the environmental impacts and I believe we must avoid causing suck impacts. For example:



Like all mining and non-renewable resource development projects, oil sands operations have an effect on the environment. Oil sands projects affect: the land when the bitumen is initially mined and with large deposits of toxic chemicals; the water during the separation process and through the drainage of rivers; and the air due to the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions, as well as deforestation. Additional indirect environmental effects are that the petroleum products produced are mostly burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
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Still importing oil from Canada rather than Saudi Arabia or some other middle eastern nation seems like a very logical move.

We are still dependent on oil, which we should not be, but we are. While we develop alternatives to this need should we not procure it in intelligent ways?



Canada is already the US' biggest oil supplier, and this decision has the propensity to make it far more difficult to reduce reliance on fossil futures in the future. Not to mention that a massive oil pipeline seems to be in stark contrast to Obama's envisioned clean energy economy. Hence, the lawsuit.


A hard choice IMHO. I think I would side with the nays, but I can see the logic and reason behind the yays.




posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 08:54 PM
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Got one question.

Have these groups provided a legitimate, viable, affordable alternative to what the pipeline would provide, or are they just saying no?



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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Originally posted by Ferris.Bueller.II
Got one question.

Have these groups provided a legitimate, viable, affordable alternative to what the pipeline would provide, or are they just saying no?


Actually the groups are working under a different set of values than the ones you are prescribing to this circumstance.

While you apparently are viewing this strictly in terms of energy use and supply they are viewing it strictly in terms of the environment.

As you yourself are choosing to view this in only one light I assume you can forgive these groups for doing the same.




posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


That big yellow ball in the sky might be a good place to start.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:00 PM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


That big yellow ball in the sky might be a good place to start.


Pimpin' more doglike wisdom i see


Yes environmental groups are also HUGE supporters of alternative energy sources such as solar. Thanks for pointing this out.


[edit on 4-9-2009 by Animal]



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by Animal

Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


That big yellow ball in the sky might be a good place to start.


Pimpin' more doglike wisdom i see


Yes environmental groups are also HUGE supporters of alternative energy sources such as solar. Thanks for pointing this out.


[edit on 4-9-2009 by Animal]


Well, that blows out the 'affordable' aspect.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:23 PM
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Originally posted by Ferris.Bueller.II

Well, that blows out the 'affordable' aspect.


Does it?

How much do conflicts over resources cost both in money and human lives?

But hey, I guess we count differently.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:28 PM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog

Originally posted by Ferris.Bueller.II

Well, that blows out the 'affordable' aspect.


Does it?

How much do conflicts over resources cost both in money and human lives?

But hey, I guess we count differently.


So, you're expecting a war to start over this pipeline?

Don't say that's very likely.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:31 PM
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reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


See, now I know you're just being silly.


Though I suppose even with solar energy, somehow humans will find a way to kill each other over it ...

Have you ever walked in front of a tanning addict at the beach?

They get very snarky.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog

I'd like top know how you manage to get by with that different counting.

Solar energy as it stands right now is both unreliable in large (household-sized) applications and is the single most expensive alternative energy source I know of to install. I'm not even going to mention the environmental hazards from production of solar cells. That's in China anyway.


Bottom line: how exactly are you going to buy a solar cell-based electrical production system if you don't have the money the producers of such are asking for it? Explain that you count differently than they do?

My compliments to Animal: you show a balanced approach to the issue, a rare thing in today's society.


TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
My compliments to Animal: you show a balanced approach to the issue, a rare thing in today's society.


TheRedneck


Well, i have the likes of you keeping me in check for the last few years. It is hard to remain overly biased in such circumstances.


Still, the 'costs' of alternative sources are not to be dismissed, but to the best of my knowledge pail in comparison to today's staples.

[edit on 4-9-2009 by Animal]



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


See, now I know you're just being silly.


Though I suppose even with solar energy, somehow humans will find a way to kill each other over it ...

Have you ever walked in front of a tanning addict at the beach?

They get very snarky.


Nope. Just thinking realistically.

The problems with most big alternative energy sources today is on demand power. Neither solar or wind are very good for that.

The only other current technology energy source I can think of that meets all the requirements is also on the 'no mention' list, nuclear energy. But economically it'd take years, maybe decades, to replace all petroleum powered vehicles on the road, and build enough power plants to replace all current coal, oil, and gas plants and transmission lines to recharge and power all those vehicles.

In which time frame we might also come up with a better means than electrolysis to produce hydrogen in large quantities, or develop a lot more efficient fuel cell, or come up with another totally new power source.

Just thinking.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 10:05 PM
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Alright sun haters, calm down ...


First of all there are still considerate technological issues with solar energy such as efficient collection and nighttime storage. Plus as some have mentioned, though getting better, it is still cost prohibitive.

So were plasmas and lcds five years ago.

Once the tech is sound and the commitment is there, economies of scale apply.

Well ... that and if/when the price of a barrel oil hits a couple of hundred bucks.

In any case, the sun is but one alternative. If we could ever harness fusion without angering the gods many of these discussions become moot.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 10:09 PM
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the major issue with the critique of alternative energy is the lack of smart energy use.

the most common attack is that these sources will not, can not, never will produce the energy loads that we require today.

well today we are gluttons. a major aspect of repairing the energy system all together is the reduction of loads or use.

the alternatives can and will fill our needs when we get serious about being energy smart.



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 10:14 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 



In any case, the sun is but one alternative. If we could ever harness fusion without angering the gods many of these discussions become moot.


Yup. that fits in the "or come up with another totally new power source" category.

That'd be cool if we can harness fusion, but it doesn't meet the 'legitimate' or 'viable' factors today.

[edit on 9/4/09 by Ferris.Bueller.II]



posted on Sep, 4 2009 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog

Plus as some have mentioned, though getting better, it is still cost prohibitive.

So were plasmas and lcds five years ago.

The strange thing about solar is (and I have mentioned this in other threads) is that the price doesn't seem to be dropping...

As someone who regularly deals with suppliers for various materials and parts, I tend to be able to acquire such things at reasonable cost. That is, until I price solar cells. every supplier I have, as well as every supplier I have been able to find, needs a high price for solar cells. So high, in fact, that it is actually cheaper for me to purchase a solar lighting system complete form a retail store than it is to buy the identical solar cells wholesale from a supplier.


I'd just like to know why? To date, no one has been able to give me a reasonable answer, except that for some strange reason, this surprisingly simple process is being held away form smaller manufacturers and researchers and only discounted to actual price to conglomerates.


In any case, the sun is but one alternative. If we could ever harness fusion without angering the gods many of these discussions become moot.

I actually hold high hopes for fusion technology, although I am thinking perhaps we would need to create something akin to an artificial star in a Dyson Sphere in orbit...

TheRedneck


[edit on 9/4/2009 by TheRedneck]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Plus as some have mentioned, though getting better, it is still cost prohibitive.

So were plasmas and lcds five years ago.

The strange thing about solar is (and I have mentioned this in other threads) is that the price doesn't seem to be dropping...


Solar panel cost declines turn up heat on suppliers

Home solar prices falling, even as rebates shrink

Solar Panel-Price Eclipse Coming

That is rapidly changing mate. It has only been in recent months so I am not surprise it slipped past your radar. The third link predicts ht possibility of solar dropping below $1 a Watt in 2010. More than 75% below the $4+ per watt in 2008 price tag.


From TheRedNeck
I'd just like to know why? To date, no one has been able to give me a reasonable answer, except that for some strange reason, this surprisingly simple process is being held away form smaller manufacturers and researchers and only discounted to actual price to conglomerates.


The main reason up until recently has been the supply of some form of silicon used in making the PV cells. Due to the limited amount this industry to gather there was a rather small limit on the number of panels that could be produced. Recently this has changed, I am not sure why and will have to do some digging. I do know (I read it somewhere) that the supply of the type of silicon used increased, but again I am not sure how.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:33 AM
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reply to post by Animal
 


Think one of the primary reasons for the prices dropping is the Chinese are getting into selling solar panels.

China eating our lunch in solar-panel marketplace


With its low labor costs, relatively low environmental standards and – more recently – stimulus spending, China is shaping up to be the “world's leading exporter of renewable energy,” continuing its prowess as the globe's chief manufacturing center.

“I've seen quite a lot more Chinese manufacturers coming into the marketplace,” said Dan Sullivan, head of Sullivan Solar Panels in Mira Mesa. “It's somewhat disconcerting, since we've had a profound opportunity to capture this market and create more American manufacturing jobs.”

Although there are a number of strong solar-panel makers in the United States, Japan and Europe, China is taking center stage.

Within the past few months, China's Suntech has nearly overtaken Q-Cells of Germany as the world's second-largest producer of photovoltaic cells, putting it behind Arizona's First Solar, a partner in many of Sempra Energy's solar projects. A number of smaller Chinese companies also are taking a chunk of the solar business.

“The Chinese are flooding the market,” said Junaid Qazi, chief executive of Clary Solar in Sorrento Valley.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by Animal

OK, I think I worded that pretty loosely. Let me try to explain my concern a bit more in-depth.

I can call up a few computer parts suppliers and order the parts for any PC I see, and get the parts to make that PC for a bit less than the cost of buying it pre-assembled. Granted, where computers are concerned I do not buy enough to make the above scenario pay for my labor in assembly, but I can still get the raw parts for less than the assembled product.

I can purchase the parts to build my own stereo for less than the cost of buying the same exact stereo.

I can purchase the steel and hub assemblies to build a utility trailer for far less than it costs to purchase an identical utility trailer (I'm getting ready to do just this).

I can purchase the materials to build a building for far less than it costs to buy a similar newly-constructed building. I just did this a couple years ago when I built my shop.

The only place where I am at a disadvantage financially with large manufacturing companies is in the labor department. They have equipment I do not have that reduces their labor costs. Where materials are concerned, I have spent a lifetime building relationships with suppliers to allow me to continue my work without the cost being prohibitive. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of my purchases are from surplus dealers, where I can actually beat the materials costs paid by the larger manufacturers, as long as my quantities as small enough for surplus to satisfy (and there are acceptable surplus materials).

I walk through stores looking at products and making mental calculations as to how much the materials cost is, and comparing the amount extra for the convenience of pre-assembly to the amount of trouble it would be to build one myself. It is always a judgment call, unless the item in question is solar-powered. At that point, the cost to me of solar cells at the wholesale or even the surplus level is many times the cost of the same item already assembled. That does not cover the cost of additional materials!

In other words, if I see a widget that costs $50, it is a safe bet I can make such a thing for $40-$45 in materials (occasionally the price for materials to me would be a little over, like $55). The company that makes them on an industrial level probably spends about $30 or less on materials. If the product is a solar lighting system, and costs, say, $50, I would spend more like $100 for the same amount of solar cells alone, plus the cost of the lights and housings and batteries! That is a huge difference and it is typically only in solar applications where I see such a difference. According to what I would expect the cost of the solar cells to be, based on the cost of the product, the cost of the additional materials, and the differential in labor costs, the solar cells I have access to are typically 500%-1000% the cost they should be.

So while the cost of solar applications is indeed dropping slowly, the cost of materials is not. That is what I am referring to. How is the marketplace supposed to compete and drive prices down if smaller entities are not able to buy even surplus solar cells for anywhere like the cost of new solar cells to larger firms?

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by Ferris.Bueller.II
reply to post by Animal
 


Think one of the primary reasons for the prices dropping is the Chinese are getting into selling solar panels.


Yes China is becoming the main producer of cells and they, doe to their lacking environmental regulations, slave labor, and the like out compete us easily on price.

However, the volume of production has also been increased due to the rise in available silicon.

You make an excellent point though, it is many things working together that is bringing the price down.



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