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A portion of Syncrude's tar sands mine site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Looking back through Daily Kos’ coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline turns up 99 articles. On the front page. In the last year.

Over the just-short-of-a-decade lifespan of the project, the Keystone XL pipeline actually appeared in thousands of articles, and there are very good reasons.

From concerns over climate change and continued dependence on fossil fuels, to the way the pipeline threatened Native lands and threatened water sources across the country, the Keystone XL project hit every branch on its way down the Bad Things tree. Add in the way that protests around the pipeline were turned into an excuse for American law enforcement to showcase how it values corporate profits way above the rights of individuals, and the pipeline might as well have been the definition of a Hot Button.

From the moment of its inception, the plan to route oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta all the way to a tank farm north of Patoka, Illinois, seemed not just like an environmental disaster in the offing, but a genuine head scratcher when it came to “Why?” This was a pipeline being developed even as fracking was making old fields at the southern end far more productive than they had been in decades. Supporters of the pipeline were left arguing that it was necessary to “ensure American independence” while simultaneously shouting about how America had already secured that independence due to the Wonders of Fracking™. And, to really demonstrate their mental dexterity, it also required constant forgetfulness over the fact that the oil the pipeline was to carry did not come from the United States.

And while Republicans repeatedly touted the pipeline as a source of jobs, independent studies showed that any positions created were likely to be a lot more temporary, and a lot fewer in number, than anything being thrown around on Fox News. It’s fair to say that Keystone XL produced far more jobs for lobbyists, and far more dollars for campaigns, than it would have ever generated for pipeline workers.

And now it appears to be dead. Which is a great time to shove a stake through its heart. Because as anyone who ever watched a horror film knows, these monsters just keep getting up again.

It’s actually wrong to say that the Keystone XL pipeline is dead. Far from it. Most of the pipeline was completed years ago and is actively working right now.

As the “Phase IV” part of the name suggests, the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Phase IV XL pipeline would not have been the first to send synthetic crude oil (syncrude) from Canadian oil sands into the U.S. What it would have done is connect together a whole series of pipelines so that light crude oil from Montana and North Dakota could have been added to the diluted bitumen, producing a product that could be handled by refineries at the far end of the pipe. In other words, it was as much about taking one of the worst forms of fossil fuel, produced in one of the dirtiest, most energy intensive ways, and turning it into something gas-tank acceptable by mixing it with only normally awful oil.

A large excavator loads a truck with oil sands at a mine near Fort McMurray in Alberta. 

This wouldn’t be a completely new thing. Since 2010, the Phase I pipeline has been bringing Canadian crude from from Hardisty, Alberta, over 2,100 miles to Wood River, Illinois. In 2011, Phase II added another 300 miles of pipe to connect that pipeline to a distribution hub in Oklahoma. Over the next five years, a series of pipelines were added during Phase III, bringing the mixture of Canadian and American oil from Oklahoma to multiple sites in Texas.

There were repeated protests over the construction of all these pipelines. After all, just producing the synthetic crude that enters the pipeline on the Canadian end involves the release of ammonia, sulfuric acid, and tons of CO2. That’s in addition to the CO2 generated when the resulting oil is burned. Then there is the threat of spills. Since 1986, there have been an average of over 300 spills form oil pipelines each year in the United States, producing an average volume of 1,323,000 gallons of spilled oil. All oil is environmentally toxic. Synthetic crude is worse. And these pipelines repeatedly crossed not just rivers and reservoirs that provide water supplies to farms, towns, and cities, but lands belonging to Native Americans were given little say in their routing. 

Molly Ryan Kills Enemy of the Lakota Nation at a protest against Keystone XL and the Dakota Access oil pipeline in 2017

While Native American “water protectors” worked tirelessly to fight various phases of the Keystone XL pipeline, and joined with environmental activists in the effort to block both this pipeline and the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline—and while Meteor Blades followed it all with dedicated effort—it wasn’t until the Phase IV that President Obama took action to halt further expansion.

That pipeline started near the same point in Alberta, then it would have cut across Montana, South Dakota, and the Sandhills of Nebraska to connect with a portion of the existing pipeline. Compared to earlier pipelines, it was relatively short. However, it would have had a larger diameter and more than doubled the total amount of synthetic crude carried to the pipeline in Nebraska. Obama blocked that last leg of the project in 2015. 

In 2017, Donald Trump removed every restriction that Obama had put in place and greased the rails for a rapid approval of the final permits. Within a year, TransCanada announced plans to ship an additional 21 million gallons of synthetic crude every day for the next 20 years.

Then, on the same day he took office, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the pipeline. Despite threats to relaunch the same lawsuit that TransCanada had originally lodged against Obama, on Wednesday the company announced that it was abandoning the project.

That’s led to a lot of celebrating over the idea that Keystone XL is dead. Meanwhile, the Phase I-III pipeline is still pumping synthetic crude into the U.S. at an existing capacity of just under 25 million gallons a day. That oil is still going to Nebraska, and Illinois, and Texas. It’s still getting mixed with American crude. It’s still ending up in American gas tanks. The Dakota Access pipeline is also operating, carrying almost 20 million gallons a day across the lands of people who suffered protests and arrests in an effort to stop it. The last portion of all these pipelines went on line in 2017. 

All of which makes it clear that ending Keystone XL Phase IV is a “victory.” Small v. Not a world-altering triumph.

And while TransCanada may be attributing the end of their plans to Biden’s decision on the permit,  that’s really just for Republican consumption. It gives them a reason to go on Fox News, beat their chest over how Biden’s energy policy isn’t as good as Trump’s, and hey, aren’t you paying more for gas this summer? See! Biden cancelled the pipeline, and your gas prices went up.

The real reason that this pipeline died is much simpler. Check the dates above. All the other phases of the Keystone XL pipeline were completed in a matter of months. The 1,200 mile Dakota Access pipeline went up in a year.

Had TransCanada been interested in actually building the Phase IV pipeline, the time between when Trump rushed through the permit in 2017, and the time when Joe Biden took office, would have been enough to build it, pump years worth of oil, kick back, and light a few cigars with fresh Franklins.

The reason that the Phase IV pipeline wasn’t built is a lot simpler than who was in office in Washington. It wasn’t built because there was no market for it. Over the last several years, America has been suffering from an absolute oil glut. In 2016, 2017, and 2019 the U.S. had periods where oil had to be rerouted or production reduced because storage facilities were full. Much of the drive for the pipelines in the Phase 3 portion of the Keystone project was simply because all the sites around that Oklahoma hub were simply drowning in oil. Then in 2020, with demand reduced due to the pandemic, oil facilities over the U.S. and the world really got topped up. Whole tanker fleets were left at sea as the world ran out of places to put all the oil.

The plain truth is that when the Keystone XL Phase IV pipeline was planned, oil was still selling for between $90 and $100 a barrel. In 2020, that number plunged to essentially can’t-give-it-away prices. It’s since rebounded to about $70 (with the help of some hackers), but the writing for TransCanada is was already on the wall—synthetic crude is already far more expensive to produce than most “regular” crude oil. In a market where fracking has permanently burst the triple-digit price bubble of the previous decade, and increasing demand for electric vehicles makes future prospects for petroleum products pretty damn shaky, there simply isn’t a way to justify the Phase IV pipe. 

They couldn’t have built it. But if they had … would anyone have wanted what it cranked out?

That’s not to say there’s not still a huge demand for oil. In the last two months, the International Energy Agency has repeatedly raised its estimates for global demand in 2021, as the economy appears to be recovering from the pandemic faster than expected. Pre-pandemic, global demand had still been increasing year over year, and that trend is expected to continue; though at a slower rate. But 2020 showed that, in the face of declining demand, the price of oil could fall by a lot. Quickly.

Even so, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the “death” of the pipeline could easily be a temporary situation. Widespread use of fracking is still young, and no one really understands how long revitalized fields and fractured shale beds will maintain production. Oil also remains a highly fungible commodity, and a serious drop in production anywhere on the planet could be enough to tick the price up to the point where the light in TransCanada’s eyes goes on again. 

The biggest way to prevent the next section of pipeline from being built, and to ultimately close down the existing pipeline, isn’t to tear up its permit. It’s to see that new legislation on energy and transportation gets passed so that the demand for oil genuinely starts to decline. The only way to keep this Frankenstein from getting another jolt of life in the future, is to make sure it’s simply not worth it.

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Tags: joebiden donaldtrump republicans democrats gop democracy insurrection community trump senate filibuster kamalaharris election qanon progressives treason resistance populists media economics energy environment oil recommended the keystone xl pipeline the keystone xl pipeline dakota access pipeline it’s still the united states for the pipeline the pipeline native american the project demand for oil portion it this pipeline that pipeline that pipeline global demand have been in production appears to be the pandemic a portion a portion pipeline into the u pipeline in the last fracking to see the pipe on fox news took office showed that it producing to say the phase reason

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When was Princess Diana a nanny to Patrick Robinson?

BEFORE she was the people’s princess, Diana had a totally normal job - she was a nanny to a little boy called Patrick Robinson. 

Lady Di famously loved working with children, and she specifically "adored" Patrick.

???? Read our Royal Family live blog for the latest updates

5Diana is seen here with Patrick Robinson, who she nannied two days a weekCredit: Getty When did Princess Diana work as a nanny? 

Diana worked as a nanny in 1979 and 1980, when she was living in a flat in Coleherne Court, Knightsbridge. 

At the time, she was working in the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico.

She was such a hit at the nursery, she was asked to look after Patrick Robinson on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Patrick was the son of an American oil executive, and she “adored” him, according to Diana, In Her Own Words, by Andrew Morton.

5Diana said this was the happiest time of her lifeCredit: Getty - Contributor 5She was living in Coleherne Court when she was a nannyCredit: Rex Features

Diana said that this time - when she was working in the nursery, nannying Patrick and living with her friends in London - was “the happiest time of her life", according to Morton. 

She spent her afternoons playing games with children, as well as teaching them how to draw, paint, and dance. 

Morton says she was “truly in her element”.

Did Princess Diana have a nanny for William and Harry?

Tiggy Pettifer, previously known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, was nanny to William and Harry. 

Legge-Bourke was hired by Prince Charles in 1993, and got a lot of press attention during her time as a royal nanny.

5Legge-Bourke was nanny to William and HarryCredit: Rex Features 5She even attended Archie's christeningCredit: Jamie Lorriman

Her time as the boys’ nanny was controversial and often made headlines where tension between her and Princess Diana was apparent, with Legge-Bourke once referring to Harry and William as “my babies”.

Princess Diana even penned an explosive letter claiming that Prince Charles was plotting to kill her so he could marry Legge-Bourke.

The nanny often went on holidays abroad with the princes, and William once asked her to attend his July 4 celebrations at Eton School in place of his parents!

A source previously said: “She’s a very significant person in Harry’s life, almost like a mother-figure, as she looked after Harry when Princess Diana died."

Prince Harry is thought to have taken his then-fiancee Meghan to meet her after the couple visited Cardiff in January 2019, and she even attended Archie's christening.

Most read in FabulousDADDY COOLKarJenners, Teen Mom stars, Royals & more share quotes and images to celebrateOH BROTHER!Prince William ‘threw Harry out’ after furious bust-up over Meghan MarkleTHAT'S MENTALWoman reveals trick to get out of awkward conversations without seeming rudeWORK OUTFury as Harry & Meg work just 35 mins for £18m Spotify deal before 5 months offAPP-ARENTLY SO I worked for a dating app & these are the biggest red flags to look out forHEIR WE GOKate Middleton shares unseen snap of William with their kids on Father's Day

In other royals news, we told you how Prince William "threw Prince Harry out" after Meghan Markle "bullying" allegations.

We also revealed the true story behind Princess Diana's 'revenge dress'.

And the hidden meaning behind the Queen's brooches.

Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte pay tribute to ‘Granny Diana’ on Mother’s Day as they say they ‘love her’

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