January 21, 2015

Senate Dems fail to offer right #KeystoneXL amendment

Yes, one of the two failed amendments to Senate Republicans' pushing of a KeystoneXL pipeline bill were both nice — use of US components only, although I really can't conceive of that much heavy steel being imported from China. The one that got OKed, about boosting energy efficiency, is also nice, but seems fairly toothless. The one about restricting tar sands oil coming through the pipeline to US use only? Meh.

None of these hit the right angle, though.

I've said before that, if nothing else, Alberta tar sands oil is better by pipeline than by rail.

That said, a better amendment would have forced the Department of Transportation to make its push for railroad companies to do a voluntary upgrade of their tanker cars into a mandated replacement with new models.

But, even that's only the second-best option Senate Dems had.

The best?

Link KeystoneXL approval to a carbon tax at home along with a carbon tariff on imports.

First, the domestic tax needs to be linked with the tariff on imports anyway; just a domestic tax is not sensical either environmentally or economically.

Second, to the degree that that Alberta tar sands oil is "dirtier" than US conventional oils, it would have a heavier tariff vs the domestic tax.

Sure, this amendment likely would have had zero chance. It probably would only get 20 Democratic votes.

But, it surely could have gotten at least two.

Hello, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey and other real "green" types. That's more than two of you — enough for an amendment's motion and seconding.

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