Steele City, NE

Keystone Pipeline XL — What They Don’t Want You to Know About Steele City

Toni Koraza

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Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Would you invest your savings with oil companies?

If you lived in the late 1800s and witnessed the expansion of Standard Oil, you may disagree with the following article. But for the love of our planet, I can’t understand why some assume that fossil fuels have a stellar future in the 21st century. 

We need more energy than ever before, but we need it from more sustainable sources. I’ll do my best to give a balanced overview of why you should ditch love for oil.

A slight detour on how democracy works and why we support it

When self-proclaimed freedom fighters say they don’t want an angry mob making all the rules, they fail to realize they’re looking at the mirror. Everything in that mirror is flipped, but it’s still the same image.

The term “angry mob,” just like “death tax,” “alternative facts,” and “stop the steal,” is deliberate propaganda coined in right-wing think tanks with the sole purpose of keeping powerful in power. Democrats have their fair share of these sayings, too, including “war on women” and “state of the planet.”

Now, if you ever hear your friends parroting party lines, and they don’t profit from the ideas, call them on it. But prepare to deal with extreme emotions. Nobody wants to believe they’re a victim of propaganda.

Now that we have this out of the way, this is why “angry mobs” are actually a synonym for social pressure, which is vital for democracy.

Why can't we just enforce laws?

Angry mobs are bad judges. Nobody wants to fall victim to a stampede of unhinged weed-smoking liberals. However, we haven’t really seen many unhinged mobs burning and looting our streets, have we? 

Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd racked up one billion dollars in collective insurance claims. BLM is the most expensive demonstration in history. Rodney King protests held the prior record with almost 800 million in insurance claims.

However, one hurricane event in Florida can easily dwarf any damage that comes from democracy.

Insurance companies paid $9,132,526,25 between 2018 and 2020 for hurricane damage in Florida. Essentially, global warming is a bigger threat to America than any angry mob out there, but whatever. I digress.

How democracy works in a nutshell:

  1. Bottom-up: Social pressure → Mounting interest → Election Victory→ Legislation → Enforcement.
  2. Top-down: Mounting interestPropaganda → Social Pressure → Legislation → Enforcement.

So, the angry mob is crucial for creating laws, whether we like it or not. But we can just call them people.

You, I, and Co. Angry mobs are us, only with semantics adjusted to provoke outrage.

Now, I hope you’re still with me. 

Let’s dive into why fossil fuels are not the future.

Biden held his promise on day 1, just like Trump did

Keystone XL was a controversial offshoot of the massive Keystone oil system that would help the Mid-west drown in Canadian black gold. 

Obama first refused the proposal for a 1,700-mile pipeline after 7 years of careful consideration. However, Obama streamlined the southern line of Keystone and helped connect the United States with fast-oil delivery.

People from both sides of the aisle dislike Obama’s part in this story. The 44th President somehow managed to make enemies with Oil Barons and environmental groups by helping southern states boost jobs in coal and oil industries while stopping the development of an $8 billion project across the Midwest.

Thanks, Obama.

Nevertheless, Keystone XL was halted in 2015 in a landmark victory for grassroots campaigns and indigenous populations living close to Nebraskan Sandhills.

Trump then tried to revive the Keystone XL during his first days in office. He called for TC Energy to resubmit the proposal for building The Keystone XL pipeline extension. The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta, Canada, all the way to Steele City in Nebraska, where the pipeline connects to the Keystone grid.

Trump's administration approved the project, quoting thousands of new jobs that could be created alongside Midwestern states, most notably for towns and villages with aging populations.

Steele City had 61 residents at the time, respectfully.

Trump’s plan failed. He lost the elections. Environmental groups have all sided with Democrats, staking their future on supporting the winning side in these elections. Oil companies have also done the same, siding with the Republican party. We know who won this round.

What happened on Biden’s first day in the office? The 46th president revoked all permits on Keystone XL Pipeline and placed a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The oil lobby wasn't happy with Biden’s decisions and his prerogative.

“Killing 10,000 jobs and taking $2.2 billion in payroll out of workers’ pockets is not what Americans need or want right now,” said Andy Black, the CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines.

Now. Let’s say that both sides are equally bad and just adhering to higher capital and interest.

Each group has its backers and authority. This is essential American politics.

Biden has more than one solid reason to pivot in the energy race

  1. Innovation is the bedrock of American prosperity
  2. China has leaped ahead in all renewable energy sectors
  3. America is less reliant on Fossil fuels now ( -5% drop since 2009)
  4. Environmental hazard control is insanely expensive
  5. Keystone Phase 1 suffered 12 spills in its first year
  6. Renewable energy sectors produce high- paying jobs
  7. Biden’s voters and backers care about climate change

Renewable energy consultants are some of the most sought-after professionals in America, with salaries starting in the comfortable 6-figures. 

On the flip side, the world is projected to use more oil in the short run. Oil jobs are real. The planet is now home to almost 8billion people who all need fossil fuels to survive. Oil demand is on the rise, but that’s not where the opportunity lies.

Investors buy something because of its future appeal, not historic. Oil has created the world we live in today, but it’s not the future. Biden’s administration is making sure that renewable sectors catch up with technology and development. Renewables may take decades to dethrone fossil fuels as the primary source of energy. Oil and coal industries have centuries of technology, culture, and development behind them.

The whole world runs on fossil fuels in the same way everybody rode horses back in the day.

First cars were expensive, and it took decades before Ford introduced something for the middle class. He eventually did create a car and helped common people gain more freedom with their commute. Rarely anyone rides a horse to work nowadays. 

Renewable energy is the new direction.

How did this happen? First, the green industry is less of an underdog than many would assume. Environmental groups are not some fringe yippies that had one acid tab too many. The Clean energy lobby is gaining ground at a remarkable pace. 

Second, Biden seems to be more relentless in reinstating America as the global energy leader than any president in history. He's probably chasing his legacy with money from green energy sectors. This is capitalism at its best.

Now, let’s go back to the question, would you invest your savings with the fossil fuels industry?

Would you buy ExxonMobil and BP for your kid's college fund?

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