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Keystone XL Pipeline

February 18th, 2012

This is a letter that I wrote to Florida Senator Rubio. It outlines the research that I have done on the Keystone pipeline. The effects of oil spills are just part of the objections to this pipeline, it also does not live up to the projected jobs nor increase our national security. There is a lot of misinformation regarding this issue and I applauded President Obama for delaying the pipeline and hope that it is denied.

Thank you for replying to my petition regarding the proposed expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It seems that you have been misled regarding the proposed expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline. In your email, you stated that the pipeline will “provide America with a safe and reliable supply of energy resources.”

The pipeline is anything but safe. TransCanada has a record of using inferior piping imported from India. Between 2000 and 2009, pipelines have had 2,794 significant spills and have been responsible for 161 fatalities. In 2010, 1 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River, 275,000 gallons spilled in a suburb of Chicago and 126,000 gallons spilled in Neche, North Dakota.

The proposed route of Phase 4 of the Keystone pipeline would run over and, in places, run into the Ogallala Aquifer. This aquifer supplies drinking water for millions of Americans and provides 30% of the irrigation needs of farms that feed the nation. By backing the expansion without proper review, it is gambling with the future of those affected Americans.

You also stated in your reply that the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. Data supplied by TransCanada to the US government reflected 2,500 to 4,650 temporary construction jobs. Many of those jobs would be from lower paid labor from outside the United States. In its new estimates of jobs created, they are using what is called “job-years.” Job-years counts each year that one employee is needed on the project as a separate employee. For example, hiring one employee over 5 years is counted as 5 employees. This is a misleading calculation.

You referred to the 830,000 barrels of crude being pumped to Gulf coast refineries. Much of this crude has been contracted to six companies and five of those are foreign companies and only one US company. Valero, the U.S. company, has a business plan that is geared toward export.
This export strategy is even detailed to investors in their public documents. One of the terminals of Keystone XL pipeline and where Valero has a refinery is Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur is within a Foreign Trade Free Zone. This allows Valero to export without paying taxes on the refined crude.

In summary, the pipeline has been proven to be unsafe. It will not provide the jobs promised and will not lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

I am disappointed that you and your staff did not do the research on this issue.

Gregory Colvin

Tar sand oil is one of the most toxic energy sources.


December 28th, 2011

A friend once told me that a drink needs less ice. An analogy of what is happening on the earth today . Less ice. Now that friend has died of alcohol addiction. Maybe he should have added more ice to his drinks.
The earth is faced with the same problem. We are looking at less ice in the form of glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic. Is there a collocation, less ice in the drink and less ice for the planet.

Santa Ana Winds – How They Are Formed

December 1st, 2011

Today Southern California experienced winds that gusted over 100 mph from a Santa Ana event. Trees toppled and thousand of local residents are without power. LAX airport was closed due to the winds, when winds disrupted electrical power to the airport, stranding hundreds of travelers. This was the strongest wind gusts in recorded history for a weather event known as the Santa Ana winds or Santa Anas. But how do Santa Anas develop? It piqued my interest and this what I have found.
The phenomenon known as the Santa Anas are named for the Santa Ana Canyon. Winds develop in the high deserts of the Great Basin near Nevada, usually between October and March. As the temperatures in the desert cool, air in higher atmospheres over the desert begins to become heavier. This heavier air begins to sink, creating turbulence and vertical movement as it makes its way through the passes and canyons in Southern California. These winds can create hurricane force gales as has been witnessed today. The humidity of the air begins to drop as it descends from the high desert to the coastal region, in some cases lower than 10 percent humidity. Warm dry wind shears from the Santa Anas quickly dry vegetation creating kindling for wildfires. These fires are in turn fanned by the Santa Ana winds.
Turbulence from the winds are a hazard to aviation.
Today the winds are responsible for blocked roads and highways, closed airports and loss of electricity. Is it a fluke or will we have to adjust to a new paradigm? Will 100 mph Santa Anas be the new normal?

Alternative forms of energy

November 28th, 2011

Alternative forms of energy continue to innovate. I have found some new and exciting innovations. Please watch the following videos. It gives me hope in the future.

Wave Energy

August 21st, 2011

My favorite form of alternative energy is wave generated power. I found this great video about the ongoing efforts to produce energy from waves in the state of New Jersey.