Friday, November 7, 2014

The Farmer and the Oilman Should Be Friends

Flying east on Thursday to visit my daughter and family I got to talking to a pleasant women from British Columbia. Her whole family seemed to be working in the oil business in Alberta.

Funny how you can learn something from anyone you meet.

I mentioned the Keystone pipeline and the safety and costs problems associated with the rail shipment of crude oil.

Oh yes, she said. And there's another problem. The farmers can't get their grain shipped by rail. It's too expensive.

Now there's something I'd never thought of. Imagine! The environmentalist war on pipelines doesn't just hurt the oil business so that it costs $12 per barrel to ship Bakken oil on Warren Buffett's trains to the West Coast, doesn't just hurt consumers who must pay more for gasoline, doesn't just put money into the pocket of Mideast jihadis, doesn't just pour money into the pockets of the world's richest man, Vladimir Putin, said, according to an official, to be worth $180 billion after a lifetime in business.

Yeah. A pipeline-less world also hurts farmers, because the oil guys can outbid the farmers for rail capacity.

Of course, there are still a dozen grain ships on any given day anchored in Vancouver's outer harbor ready to load grain from Canada's prairie. But the farmers in Alberta are reduced to shipping their grain by truck, and they lose on every truckload.

That's not the only problem with shipping oil from Alberta's oil sands play. A lot of the oil gets shipped by heavy truck, according to my Canadian friend, and you should see the mess they make of the region's roads.

Nice guys, those environmentalists. They got their principles and other people have to suffer.

I mean, come on. Pipelines are safe, and they are buried underground, and they are way cheaper than railroads. Why in the world would anyone object to a pipeline?

Well, you can make an issue out of anything. You can gin up a crowd to object to anything; you can create fear and loathing with anything. See Race card, playing of.

I just wish that liberals would get themselves a real religion, one that's all about liberals committing themselves to a higher purpose, rather than committing other people to a higher purpose,keeping the little people poor and unemployed while liberals live off the fat of the land on ample stipends and lifetime tenure.

It's ironic. Used to be that the highest calling of a politician was building farm-to-market roads. Now the roads and the rails are clogged with crude oil because the politicians and liberal special interests won't let businessmen build pipelines.

Could we get back to basics, and just let the farmers get their produce to market?

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