New Scottish offshore wind farm comes online

first_imgNew Scottish offshore wind farm comes online FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BBC News:A major North Sea wind power development off Aberdeen which was opposed by Donald Trump has generated its first power.A total of 11 turbines make up the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).Power from the wind farm, developed by Swedish energy group Vattenfall, is being exported to the National Grid.Mr. Trump battled unsuccessfully in the courts to halt the project before he became U.S. president. He said they would spoil the view from his Aberdeenshire golf course at Menie.The 11 turbines are the most powerful in the world with a total generating capacity of 93.2 MW. It is estimated the wind farm will produce the equivalent of more than 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand.The first turbine was installed at the beginning of April, with 21 kilometres of cable connecting them to a substation at Blackdog.More: Aberdeen wind farm opposed by Donald Trump generates first powerlast_img read more

Corruption scandal roils Indonesian coal plant expansion plans

first_imgCorruption scandal roils Indonesian coal plant expansion plans FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mongabay:A far-reaching corruption scandal centered on a proposed power plant in Indonesia has cast a shadow over the country’s risky reliance on coal as a supposedly cheap source of energy.Antigraft investigators arrested nine people in July, including a member of the national parliament, over allegations of bribery in connection with the awarding of contracts for the $900 million Riau-1 coal-fired plant, on the island of Sumatra. Investigators have also charged the country’s social affairs minister, Idrus Marham, for his alleged involvement (the sting where the bribe was transacted in July took place at his home). They have questioned the head of state-owned utility PLN, Sofyan Basir, who is ultimately responsible for sanctioning the project. PLN has since suspended the 600-megawatt project.Riau-1, though, is only one of dozens of coal-fired power plants planned for construction throughout Indonesia as part of the government’s ambitious push to add 35,000 megawatts of power generation to the national grid in the coming years. (The initial target date was 2019, but the government now says it may take until 2024 to get that full capacity on line.)There are at least 18 similar plants at various stages of development — from licensing and land acquisition, to procurement of technology — that are also suspected to have been tarnished by corruption, according to the NGO Association of Ecological Action and People’s Emancipation (PAEER). In particular, so-called mine-mouth plants like Riau-1, which are built close to the coal mines that supply their fuel and for which PLN awards contracts less transparently, are particularly prone to corruption, says a coalition of environmental NGOs.Riau-1 was awarded without a transparent bidding process by PLN subsidiary Pembangkitan Jawa Bali (PJB) to a private consortium that includes a subsidiary of the energy firm BlackGold Natural Resources. One of BlackGold’s top shareholders, Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo, was among those arrested in the antigraft bust in July. He has been charged with paying a 4.8 billion rupiah ($328,000) bribe to Eni Maulani Saragih, who sits on the parliamentary oversight committee for energy policy and has also been charged.In the case of BlackGold, the Singapore-listed company had “good reason to be highly motivated” to secure its stake in the Riau-1 project, according to the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Melissa Brown, an energy finance consultant at the IEEFA, said the project “promised to provide demand for low-grade coal which would struggle to find a market outside of Sumatra.”The IEEFA’s Brown highlighted the “severe conflicts of interest associated with many of the mine-mouth” projects recently awarded. “In many ways, the circumstances surrounding [Riau-1] are emblematic of Indonesia’s strategic challenges,” she wrote, “due to over-reliance on coal [power plants] backed by a revolving cast of coal producers who are highly motivated to push speculative projects that will benefit narrow interests.”More: Graft and government policy align to keep Indonesia burning coallast_img read more

European Investment Bank to help fund floating offshore wind project in Portugal

first_imgEuropean Investment Bank to help fund floating offshore wind project in Portugal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Digital:The European Commission has announced its support for a new floating wind farm off the coast of Portugal, having voted with its wallet in the form of a $69mn (€60mn) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The loan will be offered under the InnovFin Energy Demonstration project. The wind farm is being developed by Windplus, a joint venture between EDP Renewables, Repsol and Principle Power. The facility is set to have a 25MW capacity and will be located 20km of Portugal’s northern coast. It has been stated that the wind farm will produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes per year.Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said on Friday: “Today’s deal is another example of how EU financing is helping to lower the risk of rolling out innovative energy solutions like WindFloat. We need breakthrough technologies to accelerate the clean energy transition in Europe and lead the global fight against climate change. This will ultimately improve the quality of life and create new jobs and economic growth for citizens.”Floating wind turbines are built to allow electricity generation in water depths where fixed turbines cannot be constructed – this means that there is more potential area available to build wind farms, which can often be built in areas where wind is stronger and more regular.The WindFloat project will be the second floating wind farm in Europe, with Reuters stating that three turbines will be anchored in water up to depths of 100m. So far, the consortium has agreed to invest a total of $144mn (€125mn) over three years, with about $26.5mn (€23mn) having been spent on testing.More: EIB backs Portuguese floating wind farm being constructed by EDP, Repsollast_img read more

New Conoco battery storage project will cut costs, lower emissions at Australian LNG plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:US petroleum giant ConocoPhillips says it will install a 4MW battery storage array at its Darwin LNG plant to enable it to switch off one of the gas turbines that power the facility and cut its fuel and emissions by around 20 per cent.The Texas-based Conoco says it will be the world’s first LNG plant to install a battery to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption from the gas turbines that power such energy-hungry plants, which liquefy natural gas for export, and the company sees it as a template for other LNG facilities to follow.The Darwin LNG plant – which opened in 2006/07 and was the first in the Northern Territory – currently uses five 4MW gas turbines, with one running as “spinning reserve”, or backup in case of a failure elsewhere, and one kept in reserve for ship loading procedures. The addition of the 4MW lithium-ion battery – the provider is apparently not yet settled – means that one turbine can be closed down and the remaining three turbines can be run at maximum efficiency.The company did not provide the storage capacity in terms of megawatt hours, but a fact sheet sent to Renew Economy indicated that the battery may be deployed in 1MW units with 30 minutes of storage each, pointing to a 4MW/2MWh configuration. That makes sense because the battery will likely work in a similar vein to the Newman battery at the Alinta gas fired power station in the Pilbara mining region of Western Australia, where it has removed the need for back-up turbines to run all the time, and has significantly reduced costs and fuel consumption.That 35MW/11.4MWh Kokam lithium-ion battery, located next to its 178MW Mt Newman gas-fired generator, has also challenged conventional thinking by showing that a battery can provide sufficient inertia to the local grid in the absence of thermal generator.ConocoPhillips says the addition of the battery array will allow it to add renewables to the Darwin LNG power plant – which is off grid – to further reduce fuel costs and emissions. This will likely focus on solar PV given the resources in the area.More: Conoco to install big battery to cut emissions at Darwin LNG facility New Conoco battery storage project will cut costs, lower emissions at Australian LNG plantlast_img read more

S&P: Plant retirements expected to push U.S. utility coal demand down almost 20% by 2025

first_imgS&P: Plant retirements expected to push U.S. utility coal demand down almost 20% by 2025 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Nearly one in five of the tons of coal delivered to U.S. power generators in the first three quarters of 2019 went to power plants planning to close by 2025 or earlier.With no coal-fired power plants on the drawing board at home and diminished demand overseas, U.S. producers will likely struggle to find a new home for tons that were going to the export market as producers compete for what remains of a domestic customer base in secular decline. Of the 540.5 million tons of coal produced in the first three quarters of 2019, 406.0 million tons were reported as delivered to U.S. coal plants, an S&P Global Market Intelligence data analysis shows. Of those shipments, coal companies sent 19.6% of the tonnage to plants scheduled to retire before the end of 2025.The domestic market needs to see coal producers pull back on output to match supply to demand, Alliance Resource Partners LP President and CEO Joseph Craft said on a Jan. 27 earnings call. This year will be an inflection point for producers, according to the CEO. Of the 20.8 million tons of coal Alliance shipped to U.S. power plants in the analyzed period, 11.9% went to plants retiring before the end of 2025.Power plants closed 13.7 GW of coal capacity in 2019, the highest annual level since 2015, a recent Market Intelligence analysis found. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in January that another 69 GW of coal-fired capacity would retire, mostly by 2025. Based on its 2020 Annual Energy Outlook, the agency expects the annual rate of retirement from 2023 to 2025 to exceed the record 15 GW of coal-fired capacity shut down in 2015.Other U.S. coal producers are even more reliant on plants scheduled to close by 2025.Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. are finishing regulatory approval for a joint venture tying together certain Powder River Basin and Colorado coal mines, hoping to better compete with natural and renewable energy resources. The two producers are the largest companies by production volume in the country’s largest coal basin. In the first three quarters of 2019, 22.0% of Peabody’s reported deliveries to power plants and 17.7% of Arch’s deliveries to power plants went to power plants set to retire in 2025 or earlier.[Taylor Kuykendall and Anna Duquiatan]More ($): One-fifth of recent coal shipped to US power sector went to plants set to retirelast_img read more

France’s Neoen to build big battery storage unit in Finland, will enable greater wind generation

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:French renewable energy company Neoen, one of the world’s fastest-growing independent producers of renewable energy and the owner of the Tesla big battery in South Australia, is to build a 30MW/30MWh battery storage project in Finland, the largest such project in Scandinavia.Neoen says the Yllikkälä Power Reserve One storage facility, located close to Lappeenranta in the south-east of the country, will play an important role in stabilising Finland’s national electricity system – managed by Fingrid – and allow for more wind generation.“Neoen aims to establish itself as a leading force in frequency regulation in Finland,” it said in a statement, echoing its success in the FCAS markets in Australia with the Tesla big battery, officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve.“Aside from greater reliability and lower electricity grid stabilization costs, the plant will facilitate the integration of future renewable energies projects …. And make it possible to harness Finland’s substantial wind resources and speed up progress towards a target of being carbon neutral by 2035.”Hornsdale remains the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery installation, at 100MW/129MWh, and will soon grow to 150MW/194MWh, and in April completed the network connection which will allow it to offer new services to the grid such as inertia.“We strongly believe in the potential for renewable energies in Finland and continue looking at development opportunities,” said Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and CEO. “We have demonstrated the effectiveness of our battery-based grid-balancing solutions with the success we have achieved in Australia, El Salvador, and France over the past few years.[Joshua S Hill]More: Neoen to build first big battery in Finland, to allow for growing wind share France’s Neoen to build big battery storage unit in Finland, will enable greater wind generationlast_img read more

JUMP! Swimming Holes with Big Splashes

first_imgBY GRAHAM AVERILL & JEDD FERRISA plunge into a swimming hole should be a part of everyone’s summer. Relish the complete sense of surrender as your feet leave the rock, your body meets gravity, and everything goes silent as you fall toward the pool of water beneath you. The world disappears, and all you can see, all you can think of, is the calm depths beneath your feet.BRO has found the best swimming hole jumps in the Southeast. Some of them are tried-and-true classics, others are further off the radar. Some send you leaping from great heights, others are more scenic than death-defying. Regardless of their height or popularity, they’re all out there waiting for you to surrender to the jump.WHITEOAK CANYONCEDAR RUN, VA.Height: 20-40 FeetWhiteoak and Cedar Run are connecting Shenandoah classics. The central section of the national park has long been a hiker’s delight for the abundance of waterfalls found on this popular circuit hike. Ledges for jumping from various heights are ready for the taking along the cool pools that sit beneath falls found on the Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails. A long favorite option is Cedar’s natural waterslide with a pool 40 feet below.Dangers: The high ledge at Cedar Run requires a little distance in the jump or it could mean disaster; not recommended for the timid. Be mindful of water levels.Access: From Charlottesville, Va., drive north on US 29 for 26 miles until you reach SR 231. Head north until you reach SR 670, where you proceed to Syria. Turn right on SR 643/600 and drive to the White Oak Canyon trailhead. It’s a 1.5-mile hike to the pools.Nearby: If you’re looking to spend a little more time in the park, hike on to Skyline Drive and grab a site (advanced reservations often necessary) at Big Meadows. The campground has a lodge where you can grab food and supplies.SUMMERSVILLECLIFFS, W.VA.Height: 30-100 FeetIf you don’t think we have any legitimate cliff jumping in the South, just head out to the big ledges and stunning views around central West Virginia’s Summersville Lake. Try the varying heights at Long Point, Waterfall, and Whipporwill cliffs (a popular spot for bolted deep water solo climbing routes), easily reached from Rt. 19, where you can spend the day yelling cowabunga at the top of your lungs as you plunge into the deep clear water.Dangers: The water is nice and deep in Summersville Lake, but landing a 50-foot-plus jump in an awkward position could easily result in some cracked ribs. Some jumpers recommended bringing a life vest to throw into the water before you jump in-just in case you get one of those pesky leg cramps or need a breather before you swim to shore.Access: From Fayetteville head north on Rt. 19. Whipporwill Road is on the left just before the Gauley River bridge. For Waterfall cross the bridge and turn right into a dirt parking area. A half-mile hike on the jeep trail will then lead to the cove and jumping area of Waterfall Cliffs. To reach Long Point continue north on 19 for a mile and turn left on Long Point Access Road. Follow this through the Summersville Lake recreation area until you reach a gate. Park here and follow the hiking trail for 1.5 miles to the overlook.Nearby: While you’re in the area stick around and take a whitewater rafting trip on the New. If you’re looking for post-jump chow, head to Pies and Pints in Fayetteville for tasty gourmet pizza.SWALLOW FALLSSTATE PARK, MD.Height: 10-30 FeetSwallow Falls State Park sits in the rugged Allegheny country of Maryland’s western peninisula. It borders the tumbling rapids of the Youghigeny River and also holds Maryland’s highest waterfall, the 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls, as well as the park’s namesake cascade. Both waterfalls flow into sets of refreshing natural swimming pools, bordered by craggy outcroppings for cannonball glory.Dangers: The rocks along the side of the swimming holes get slippery, so watch your footing or wear some water shoes. Watch out for glass and other trash that often comes with state park disrespect.Access: From Cumberland take I-68 west to US 219 and head south to Oakland. Then pick up Rt. 20 in Oakland and head nine miles northwest to the park.Nearby: The park has a number of set-back wooded campsites and a network of well-maintained trails to satiate a needed singetrack fix. If you need more nighttime action, head toward Deep Creek Lake and get some Mexican at Santa Fe Grille. They pour a shot of Patron big enough to drop a horse.Mill’s CreekWaterfall, S.C.Height: 20+ FeetThe jump itself is impressive, but what really gets people going at Mill’s Creek is the setting. The creek drops into Lake Jocassee, forming a 30-foot waterfall tucked deep inside a lush, green cove. All of it comes together for a tropical setting unrivaled in the Southeast. You’ll have to keep reminding yourself you’re in South Carolina, not the Caribbean.Dangers: The logistics. The only way to reach Mill’s Creek waterfall is by boat. No trails or roads reach this corner of the lake, which is surrounded by federally designated Wilderness. The only way to reach the falls is by a half-day paddle or boat shuttle. (See below).Access: You can paddle a sea kayak for three to five hours across Lake Jocassee or arrange for a boat shuttle with the Jocassee Outdoor Center. Either way, check with the JOC for maps, a guide service, or info on alternative jumps along the lake. www.jocasseeoutdoorcenter.com.Nearby: Foothills Trail. The 80+ mile footpath skirts the northern edge of Lake Jocassee for miles, offering hikers a chance for a variety of day trips. The Jocassee Outdoor Center runs hiker shuttles for those who want to jump off a waterfall and catch a dayhike all in the same excursion.Directions: From Greenville: Take Hwy 25 north to Hwy 11. Go south of Hwy 11 and turn right on Jocassee Lake Road to Devil’s Fork State Park, the only public boat access on the lake.WILDCAT FALLS, N.C.Height: 15 FeetThis is more of a rock jump than a cliff jump. At 15 feet, it’s a great way to introduce someone to the art of cliff jumping. And everyone will enjoy the hike into the Wilderness and the scenery surrounding the falls.Dangers: Shallow rock shelf directly beneath the jump. Jump out away from boulder and you’ll clear any rocks hiding beneath the water. The pool at the bottom is only five feet deep, so tuck your legs in as you hit the water.Access: Easiest way is to hike the Big Fat Trail for three miles from Big Fat Trailhead. But it’s steep and is a heck of a climb out of the wilderness after a day of rock jumping. The more scenic route would be to hike seven miles along the Slickrock Creek Trail from Hwy 129. You’ll follow the river the entire way and cross the creek multiple times.Nearby: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Some of the biggest, fattest trees in the South are just around the corner. Cheoah River. Miles of constant class IV big water sits at the edge of this Wilderness area. Sweetwater BBQ. Robbinsville isn’t a bustling metropolis, but they have good Q. 828-479-6862.Directions: From Robbinsville, N.C. follow 129 west for 13 miles. Turn left at the unmarked bridge that crosses the Cheoah and follow Forest Road 62. In .2 miles, take a hard right on FS 62 and follow it as it climbs for six miles to the Big Fat Gap Trailhead. For the Slickrock Creek Trail trailhead, stay on 129 to the Cheoah Dam and look for the dirt road and parking area on your left.BOWATER HOLE, TENN.Height: 18 FeetLocals call this the “Blue Hole,” out of towners call it Bowater Hole. Whatever you name it, it’s a classic Tennessee jump that’s popular during summer weekends. The massive boulder sits in the middle of the North Chickamauga River surrounded by a small but scenic rock gorge. The boulder itself is perfect for sunbathing and the tallest end protrudes over the deepest section of the river, as if Mother Nature herself wanted us to jump into its depths.Dangers: Broken glass. The jump itself is safe as can be, but watch out for broken beer bottles on the rocky shore leading up to the boulder. The spot is popular with college kids who obviously have no concept of Leave No Trace.Access: The jump is located within the Bowater North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness. Follow the unmarked trail at the lower end of the parking lot across the river and continue upstream for one mile.Nearby: Cumberland Trail. Twenty miles of the C.T. traverses the North Chick gorge, perfect for backpacking or scenic day hikes. Park and Play. The two-mile run from the Bowater parking lot to route 27 on the North Chick is solid class III-IV water with boucoup park-and-play potential. Clumpies Ice Cream Company. Fresh ice cream hand-made at the shop with a variety of hip flavors like Chai sorbet. 423-267-5425.Directions: From Chattanooga, head north on 27 to Montlake Road. Go west on Montlake Road for 1.1 miles to the Bowater North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness sign on your left and take the gravel road down to the parking lot.JACK’S RIVER FALLS, GA.Height: 20 FeetJack’s River Falls is hardly a secret, but the narrow gorge that houses the 60-foot waterfall is so remote and picturesque, you won’t mind waiting in line to jump. The falls is so popular, the Forest Service has recently banned overnight camping along the river to help cut down on use. Regardless, it’s a jump that can’t be ignored. Jacks comes down in two dramatic tiers within a narrow rock canyon, and an imposing 20-foot tall rock chimney protrudes over the deep pool at the bottom of the last waterfall.Dangers: The current. The falls is so powerful, it can either suck you back beneath its falling waters or push you quickly toward a rocky shelf beneath the water. After you come up from the plunge, be prepared to swim immediately to shallow water.Access: The falls resides inside the Cohutta Wilderness. Take the 3.5-mile Jack’s River Trail for an easy walk along an old railroad bed.Nearby: Cohutta Wilderness. The Cohutta has 95 miles of hiking trails. Check out the 13-mile Conasauga River Trail, which crosses the river 38 times. Edna’s Restaurant in Chatsworth offers classic meat-and-three style dishes. 706-695-4951.After you check out these jumps, use our Swimmers’ Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway to find your next swimming adventure!last_img read more

The Road Ahead

first_img1. Raleigh Revenio 2.0 The Revenio is a solid-performing road bike, which is exactly what you need from your first foray into road racing. The geometry of the aluminum frame is race oriented, but more upright to keep you comfortable on longer rides. With the 2.0 you get a carbon composite fork and Shimano Sora components. $799 | raleighusa.com2. Giant Defy Advanced 3 Budget minded carbon bikes? Yes, they do exist. Giant’s range of Defy Advanced bikes blend lightweight carbon composite frames with decent components for a race-ready package at a relatively affordable price. The Defy Advanced 3 has the option of a triple chain ring for big climbs, Shimano 105 components, and a longer wheelbase and taller head tube for added comfort on extended rides. $1,930 | giant-bicycles.com3. Salsa Vaya This utility road bike has a durable chromoly frame, braze-ons for fenders and racks, 700c wheels and cyclocross tires, and a stable geometry with a focus on predictability. The package makes the Vaya a go-to road warrior regardless of the terrain—paved roads, rail trails, gravel roads. $1,649 | salsacycles.com4. Trek Madone 6 The Madone 6, part of Trek’s flagship racing series, solidifies its reputation as a dream bike. The frame is built from a brand new defense-grade carbon fiber that can only be used by manufacturers in NATO Alliance countries. The new material cuts 100 grams from the frame weight while increasing the overall stiffness. The Madone 6 also offers a customizable program that allows you to choose your paint color, geometry, components, and add ons. Pricing starts at $4,299 | trekbikes.comCrash Test DummiesAll bicycle helmets sold in the U.S. have to be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, whether they run $10 and have pictures of kitties on the side, or $300 and are more aerodynamic than a jet. In fact, that cheap helmet is just as safe as the pricier version. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, the impact results of cheap helmets and expensive helmets are identical. “When you pay more for a helmet, you may get an easier fit, more vents, and snazzier graphics,” says Randy Swart, director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. “But the basic impact protection of the cheap helmets tested equal to the expensive ones.”So why buy the expensive lid? For superior performance. The ProLight is Giro’s top-of-the-line road bike helmet. It’s their lightest, just 200 grams for a medium, with 25 vents for maximum breathability on the hottest of days. To save weight, Giro created a minimalist strap system with thin webbing that stretches around your head. Precisely measure your head size before ordering this lid. Fit is key, since you don’t want the helmet to ride too high on your forehead, leaving too much of your precious dome unprotected.The shell is fused to the impact-absorbing EPS liner, making the plastic a structural part of the helmet (most plastic shells are laminated to the foam). This “InMold” process allows Giro to make lighter helmets without sacrificing safety, albeit at a higher price. $200 | giro.comHow much impact can that helmet take? Watch this BRO video and find out.last_img read more

Made in the Mountains

first_imgThe barefoot running trend refuses to go away. Virtually every shoe company now offers some kind of minimalist footwear. But those made-in-China shoes often defeat the purpose of simple, basic footwear. Fortunately, for the first time, the Blue Ridge now has its own minimalist running sandal manufacturers: Bedrock Sandals, based in Harrisonburg, Va.Bedrock Sandals began with two friends, Nick Pence and Dan Opalacz , who loved to run trails in homemade Do It Yourself (DIY) huarache sandals. Unsatisfied with the designs they found on Youtube, they decided to make their own. What started as a small hobby quickly grew into a passion. They brainstormed design ideas, built them into their sandals, and took to testing on the trails. Last June, they launched Bedrock Sandals and built the first official batch of 273 Bedrock Sandals. Since then, they have continued to evolve their sandal designs based on feedback from customers, family, and friends. They’re made in the mountains, and every pair purchased benefits local environmental nonprofits. You can buy the sandals directly at bedrocksandals.com.Show your support for local shoes and local trails  at the Bedrock Trail Marathon and Half Marathon on May 12th in Walnut Creek Park near Charlottesville, Va. This brand-spankin’ -new event loops around a scenic lake and across rolling singletrack. Proceeds benefit 1% for the Planet.last_img read more

Keystone Pipeline: Need it or Nix it?

first_imgYes: Just build the damn thingMany of the arguments against building the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, center around the fact that extracting and refining this type of oil is more energy intensive than conventional oil production. Unfortunately, those arguments are built upon the misconception that if we don’t build the pipeline, our demand will magically decrease or that the tar sands will lie dormant and not be developed.The U.S. currently consumes 20% of the world’s oil despite representing only 5% of the world’s population, and our demand isn’t decreasing anytime soon. Not building the pipeline simply means we will continue to rely on importing more oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, and Nigeria, instead of from our friendly neighbor to the north.Of course, if we don’t build the pipeline, we could still easily contract with TransCanada for the development of the tar sands, but instead rely on a series of railways and tanker trucks, with the resulting higher costs and increased carbon emissions, to deliver the crude to our refineries. And if we assume that we’re not interested in tapping into the third largest pocket of oil on earth, do we really think that China and other developing nations are not going to jump on the chance to take advantage of this resource?A recent report from the State Department confirmed that the decision to build the pipeline does nothing to impact climate change, since the tar sands will likely be developed anyway. Not building simply means we’re either importing a higher percentage of our oil from unstable countries, or paying higher costs to import the same crude in a less efficient manner.This all doesn’t even touch on the  16,000 American jobs that will be created manufacturing and building the pipeline, or the increased property tax revenue that local governments and school districts will see once the pipeline is in operation. When you consider all of this, it’s no wonder that 66% of Americans support the pipeline. It’s time for us to go with the flow.Dustin Paulson studied journalism and worked in the State Legislature in Florida. He now lives and works in North Carolina. N0: Want water? Don’t build the pipelineJust a few weeks ago, the Pegasus pipeline, an oil pipeline owned and operated by ExxonMobil, sprung a leak, spilling at least a half-million gallons of crude oil into a neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas. Video shot by a fleeing resident showed the oil flowing like a black gooey stream through suburban yards and into the streets. Nearly two dozen homes were evacuated and residents were left with no clear idea of when they’d be allowed back into their houses. Oil soon spread to a large lake nearby.The Keystone XL pipeline would be three times larger than the Pegasus pipeline and carry almost ten times more oil.The proposed Keystone pipeline would connect the tar sand fields of Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska and would allow Canadian and domestic oil to flow all the way to Texas oil refineries. Along the way, the pipeline would run through many ecologically sensitive areas as well as the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest fresh water reservoirs in the world and the source of drinking water for millions of people and thousands of farms.If the Keystone XL pipeline is built, it’s a matter of when, not if, it will spring its own leaks. Sections of the pipeline that were built a year ago have already spilled 12 times, despite projections by pipeline operators that they would only see one leak per seven years. A large spill in the Keystone XL pipeline like the one that happened in Arkansas could have devastating effects on our economy, rob millions of people of clean drinking water, and permanently knock out a large chunk of U.S. agriculture output.There are a lot of other great reasons not to built the Keystone XL pipeline (it would deepen our dependence on fossil fuels, worsen global warming, and create more incentive for the further mining of destructive oil sands), but for me, the chances of it poisoning one of our nation’s greatest natural resources is the deal breaker. We can’t allow the short-sighted profit motives of a handful of oil companies to override our responsibility to properly manage our water resources.Shea Gunther writes about environmental issues for Mother Nature Network.What do you think? Join the debate by entering your comments below.Further Reading: Check out the story of Ken Ilgunas, the man who thru-hiked the length of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.last_img read more