Would-be fuel exporters offer annual payment that might fund transportation projects

Posted by on April 15th, 2015 at 9:22 am

Going bike boulevard at MLK Jr. Blvd-7

Brought to you by… Pembina?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Though it’s not likely to appease many Portlanders fighting to block the deal, there’s a chance that the construction of a propane export terminal in Portland could result in money for local biking improvements.

The opportunity arises as part of an offer from Pembina, the Calgary-based extraction company that needs city approval to run its pipeline through an environmental preservation zone on the way to the Port. Pembina has agreed that if its facility is built, it will among other things pay $6.2 million annually into a new “Portland Carbon Fund.”

According to the city, “the fund will be used for projects that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy and sequester carbon.”

The issue was covered Tuesday by the Portland Business Journal, which quoted mayoral spokesman Dana Haynes as saying “we haven’t had an opportunity to completely analyze what the planning commission has set forward.”

For comparison’s sake, the most recent draft of the city’s proposed street fund would bring $20 million a year for assorted street safety projects.

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If the project were approved by city council at an expected hearing on April 30, there would surely be many hands reaching toward that new stream of money. The city is near the end of a six-year update to its Climate Action Plan, which calculates that transportation accounts for 37 percent of the region’s carbon emissions.

That makes transportation the largest single share of local carbon pollution, but that doesn’t mean that reducing transportation emissions would be seen as the highest-reward use of each Carbon Fund dollar.

Still, even $1 million of those $6.2 million would be enough for quite a bit of bike infrastructure. That’d be enough to fully restore the city’s defunct neighborhood greenway expansion program, for example, or to imitate Minneapolis’s new $750,000-a-year fund for protected bike lane construction, or to build 12 high-end signalized crosswalks each year, or to triple the number of regional Safe Routes to Schools programs from 40 to 130.

On the other hand, the propane export terminal would if built be responsible for shipping an estimated 0.01 percent of the planet’s annual carbon pollution.

In a closely watched vote last week, the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission voted 6-4 to recommend a change to city zoning laws that would allow the project to be built.

Chris Smith, a low-car transportation advocate who led opposition to the export terminal on the planning commission, downplayed the chances that it might result in better bike infrastructure if built.

“You’d have to make the case that the infrastructure was getting people out of cars,” Smith said in an email Wednesday. “That’s possible of course, but I would guess that programs that can show carbon reduction more directly, and with a stronger equity case (e.g., low-income weatherization) are going to compete more strongly.”

“I think most people will decide to support or oppose the terminal on more fundamental principles,” Smith concluded.

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Middle of the Road guyJon Mdave9wattsBrian K Smith Recent comment authors
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SW
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SW

Isn’t that called a “bribe” ??

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

No more than a developer offering to build a park or a sidewalk when they don’t have to.

One person’s bribe is another’s “goodwill gesture”

9watts
Guest
9watts

Except that you’re eliding the fact that we’re on the hook to leave most (really all) remaining fossil fuels in the ground, never burn them.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150107131401.htm

I don’t think the same compulsion applies to (future) buildings.

Jon M
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Jon M

What “hook” is this and why are “we” on it?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Are you unfamiliar with this argument? Did you click on the link? That would be a start to answering your question.

Jon M
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Jon M

Yes, i am familiar with the position. But thats all it is. You implied an obligation to adhere to that position. I asked why we’re on such a hook.

BTW, were it not for the continuing reporting of scientists fabricating their climate research, the years of failed warming, er, climate change estimates, etc., i might be willing to concede here, but no.

Besides, what you linked to proposes no further fossil fuel exploitation to meet a policy target. These policy targets, as they were in Kyoto, would, if such warming eas even occurring, have a fractional impact on that warming. So, no, we’re not on the hook to meet any such policy position that we have not properly consented to.

Dan
Guest
Dan

You’re clearly being disingenuous. The only reason to respond to you is the obligation to speak up when lies are being spread.

Climate change has near-universal acceptance among the scientific community and subject matter experts. There’s no “fabricated” research, and climate change models if anything have proven more conservative than the reality that is happening before our eyes.

And no, we’re not on the hook to defend a policy position. We’re on the hook – it’s a moral hook, so I understand this may be confusing for you – to defend the possibility of a livable world for our children and their children.

That’s all I have to say to you.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

Wait… I thought it was global warming that had scientific “consensus”. Now thats tramsformed into universal “acceptance” of climate change? Lol.

First, scientific truth is not a matter of how many people raise their hands. Second, that appeal to authority is a logically invalid argument. Third, that “consensus” was a product of reviewing selected research. Lastly, this consensus is crumbling as review concludes -http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/.

Further evidence this consensus re: agw, if it ever existed, is the tranforming to climate change. I would that there’s scientific acceptance that climate change occurs. That you appeal to such a self-evident fact as a source of authority is laughable.

Also, the estimates generated by the computer models relied on by ipcc have never been realized in the real world. Hence, the consensus surprise when modeling in the 90s predicted warming in the 2000s actually turned out to be no warming at all. Lol. Those computer model have to be “forced”, er manipulated, to render the preferred conclusions.

Whether it is James Hansen or the East London folks manipulating data, I dont care… But, climate data is being manipulated whether you accrpt that or not.

Lasltly, color me not surprised that a faithful adherent to the religion of global warming introduces morality into the argument. Of course, you do so because there is no scientific appeal to support your preferences, so you appeal to morality to justify your desires. To boot, i bet youre one of those who turns pale when a conservative argues morality to justify restricting access to abortion.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Well, I don’t have kids 🙂

Dave
Guest
Dave

For some reason I can’t reply to your other comment where you actually linked the Forbes article. But it’s worth noting that survey the author is referring too is only a survey of 1077 engineers and geoscientists. Specifically from The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. This would hardly represent a crumbling of overall scientific consensus but merely that a specific group in on part of Canada.

John Lascurettes
Guest

It’s also written by a Forbes columnist that routinely writes, almost exclusively, articles on how there is no man-made crisis.

PS: the reason why you couldn’t respond is that the reply is too many layers deep. It’s part of the commenting plugin BP.org uses.

John Lascurettes
Guest

P.P.S. Just because the guy writes for Forbes doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but I’m going to take it with a healthy dose of skepticism as to his motivation for being the contrarian.

Dave
Guest
Dave

And it’s a particularly hilarious example for two reasons:

One, it was specifically designed to test perceptions in a biased group, i.e. professionals within the oil & gas industry.

Two, even within what one would expect to be a group fairly hostile to climate science, the acknowledgement of anthropogenic climate change and support for regulation of carbon emissions was high – only 34% actually had a negative opinion. The majority agreed that AGW is real and will require real meaasures to solve.

So, he’s accusing climate scientists of cherry picking and misrepresenting data, and to prove his point he’s cherry picking and misrepresenting data showing that even petroleum engineers don’t believe this hogwash.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

You mean like the voluntary incentives the City accepts from developers that we read about in the inclusionary zoning post yesterday? I guess some “bribes” are better than others, right? Sheesh

Chris Smith
Guest

Some of us might say “mitigation measure” 🙂

Champs
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Champs

This is more like a deal with the devil. The city trades revenue and jobs for just a little bit of its (green) soul.

Bribes are narrowly defined in legal terms, perhaps to maintain the illusion that things like large campaign contributions (usually) don’t fit.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

Capitalism: Paying people off to get away with whatever they want.

Jon M
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Jon M

Ah, yes. Thats what capitalism is. You must prefer Cuba or Russia or China’s economic system, eh? To listen to peoole like you, we’d be stuck in the dark ages. Im sure youd have no problem if one of your preferred businesses/organizations requested a zoning variance while at the same time offer to contribute economically to the City.

So call this what it is… Youre dont like the proposed economic activity, hence, you’ll demonize all those “other” people as evil capitalists. You like your electric cars, right… But you ignore the significant and comparably worse lifecycle enviro impact of electric cars.

9watts
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9watts

“we’d be stuck in the dark ages”

Ooh, scary!

Jon M
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Jon M

It was for most peoole then, no? It is currentlyt for many in africa and the middle east. And while dark ages is overstating it relative to places like cuba, much of china, and much of russia, its pretty scary there, too what with political oppoments being disappeared, christians being jailed, etc.

J_R
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J_R

Maybe if they sponsor the bike share, too.

Terry D-M
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Terry D-M

This is a deal with the devil.

Portland sells it soul to tar sands and fracking in order for it’s residents to not pay for auto parking. If this gets approved, we will be an international leader in greenwashing.

9watts
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9watts

***comment deleted by moderators***

Jon M
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Jon M

What a disgusting analogy that serves only to diminish the violence and evil that rape is.

soren
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soren

Indirect violence is still violence.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Sometimes violence is a solution.

Rebecca
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Rebecca

So the City is cool with running an oil pipeline through an environmental preservation zone… thank god we draw the line at MTB trails or there would be a serious threat to our natural areas. *headdesk*

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Gross! This article implies that money from the pipeline is in line to pay for bike infrastructure bur does anyone actually believe that could ever happen! Total BS! We need to pay for transportation infrastructure, the biggest challenge with our transportation infrastructure is an over-reliance on Single-Occupancy-Vehicles. Instead of looking for for some “magic money” to fall out of the sky, or a filthy pipe, or from Salem, lets generate some revenue in a way that actually improves our infrastructure:
Raise more money from parking (more meters, paid permits, increased taxes on surface parking lots), increase gas taxes, collect a weight and mileage fee at DEQ check-ups to encourage lighter vehicles less driving, increase fees on the largest freight vehicles and offer breaks on the smallest freight vehicles, require an (expensive) sticker to use studded tires with City limits, lower speed limits, increase enforcement efforts for speeding, running red lights, distracted/impaired driving, use red light/speed cameras to generate income, increase towing for parking violations, etc. Pitching this pipeline as a revenue stream is shameful.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Thank you, MaxD.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

I guess too bad the CRC was not built and the tolled bridge could have set up a benefit district for bike and led infrastructure in the impact zone, as some jurisdictions have done. Hmmm missed opportunity.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

No thanks.

dave
Guest
dave

The gas will get exported somewhere, as long as there’s a demand. I’m fine with taking their money and putting it to positive use. NIMBYism isn’t going to solve the global warming problem.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

Excellent point. Notwithstanding the collective hyperpartisan climate alarmism being expressed at this site, absent political, social, and cultural elites in a few select western euro native n and in the US, other more reasonable peoole arr not going to darken their economies to meet carbon targets that are produced by faulty computer models and estimates produced by partisan scientists.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The gas will get exported somewhere, as long as there’s a demand.”

Not so fast.
This was a common argument for doing nothing to stop Keystone XL, too. While all fossil fuel export terminals or infrastructure have their unique characteristics, and any calculations such as the one below would be differ to some degree, I’m curious what you think of this argument:

“My calculations suggest that not permitting Keystone XL will result in a binding transport constraint by 2024 at the very latest. If all planned pipeline projects are significantly delayed, not permitting Keystone XL will very likely reduce production in the short run and continue to do so unless additional pipeline capacity comes online, which is less than certain.
. . . . . . . .

I would like to consider the following three scenarios:

1. All pipelines get built, rail capacity is ramped up to 500,000 bpd by 2018 and continues to grow by 76,000 bpd per year thereafter.

2. All pipelines except Keystone XL get built, rail capacity is ramped up to 500,000 bpd by 2018 and continues to grow by 76,000 bpd per year thereafter.

3. All pipelines except Keystone XL, Alberta Clipper 1 & 2 get built, rail capacity is ramped up to 500,000 bpd by 2018 and continues to grow by 76,000 bpd per year thereafter.

4. No pipelines get built, rail capacity is ramped up to 500,000 bpd by 2018 and continues to grow by 76,000 bpd per year thereafter.”

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2014/03/25/not-building-keystone-xl-will-likely-leave-a-billion-barrels-of-bitumen-in-the-ground/

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

Not so fast? Huh? What “argument” do you think he is making?

Whatever it is, that blog lost doesnt overturn the economic certainty that if there is demand for an item, then supply will follow. Those resource firms in Canada are exploiting thise oil reserves precisely because the global market is demanding that oil resource and the market price is incentivizing that oil extraction.

That the oil from Canada will be transported someplace is not a hypothetical, it is a fact. As well, noting this fact is not an argiment to do nothing. That argument simply recognizes that we can either ship the oil to the US for cleaner domestic refining and consumption (relative to China and elsewhere) and preserve low energy costs in addition to other econimic benefits, or we can not build the pipelines and have Canada ship that resource to an even dirtier economy in China. This is economic reality.

The blog post you link to is really an argument to constrain the exploitation of that Canadian oil by not building a pipeline. It is not an argument against the thinking that if an item is in demand, then supply will follow.

The same applies to this proposed gas line. The gas is being exploited and will be delivered to market.

soren
Guest
soren

“the economic certainty that if there is demand for an item…”

tragedy tends to evoke disgust and our slow-motion ACC train wreck is ongoing…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You must have failed basic economics. The barriers to market that are created, the higher the cost of delivery. Oil extraction, as with any business is all driven by profit. They want this pipeline in Portland because it is the most profitable option. If we turn them down, they may find somewhere else to export it, but it will be at a higher marginal cost. The effect is minor, but you can’t pretend that our choice has no effect on the market. Just look at all of the oil “boom towns” that are shutting down wells right now. Delivery costs and market demands have a direct effect on production.

Matt B
Guest
Matt B

There is more last play here than just an increased cost of transportation. The Saudi’s have taken steps to drive down the price of oil in an attempt to make it economically unfeasible to use fracking techneques to extract oil. Results, “Boom Towns” shutting down wells and OPEC regaining control.

dave
Guest
dave

I think assuming that rail or other transport capacity will follow some arbitrary limit to expansion is unrealistic. At the very least the expectation would be that other sources without the same export constraints would ramp up and take up any slack Alberta left in the market. And lo and behold, here we are with no Keystone and a historic petroleum glut. Yes, Alberta tar sands are dirtier than the Brent crude that might offset it, but that’s a bit like worrying about which caliber bullet you’d like to be shot with.

Which is not to say I wanted to see Keystone built, but I think it’s wrong battle to fight. Let them build it, tax the bejesus out of it, and spend the money on things that really might make a difference like offshore wind, high speed rail, etc.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I think assuming that rail or other transport capacity will follow some arbitrary limit to expansion is unrealistic.”

Surely you’re not arguing that there is no limit to the rate of rail expansion.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I am arguing that nobody can claim to know a specific high limit to the amount of any resource that can be moved, given both supply and demand exist. If not by rail, it will get moved some other way, or some other producer will take up the slack. Even if you’re 100% right, 1 billion barrels represents about 0.3% of the reserves just in Venezuela. It’s 3 weeks of production, even excluding OPEC nations, and about 10 days of global consumption.

You can’t cure a cold by taking away the tissue box. Keystone was a useful rallying point, and I’m glad it worked out the way it did. But now we need to direct that energy somewhere useful.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I am arguing that nobody can claim to know a specific high limit to the amount of any resource that can be moved, given both supply and demand exist.”

Alright. We disagree then.
To my ears this is classic frontier thinking. Limits are for sissies, and those who stayed behind in Olde Englande.

The issue the author was pointing to, specifically, was time. It takes time to build out any of the alternatives. And sometimes blocking one option (pipeline) means that the next option (rail), though it can obviously be expanded, will take a long time to actually accomplish in the real world. Longer perhaps than those who hope to exploit the resource may be willing or able to wait. Time is not on the side of the fossil fuel exploiters.

Eric
Guest
Eric

A “pipeline through an environmental preservation zone” isn’t a good idea for any amount of money, even if the money would make a real difference (which it won’t.)

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Better ground Al Gore’s plane.

Brian K Smith
Guest
Brian K Smith

“Dad, why did you sell out our future?”

“Twelve high-end signalized crosswalks, kid. Per year!”

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

Dave
For some reason I can’t reply to your other comment where you actually linked the Forbes article. But it’s worth noting that survey the author is referring too is only a survey of 1077 engineers and geoscientists. Specifically from The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. This would hardly represent a crumbling of overall scientific consensus but merely that a specific group in on part of Canada.
Recommended 0

This isnt an appropriate forum to present a survey of research. So, of course, I presented one recent example of reporting re: the diminishing “consensus” on agw. OTOH, had you clicked into the subject study and read further, youd have seen:
“The proportion of papers found in the ISI Web of Science database that explicitly endorsed anthropogenic climate change has fallen from 75% (for the period between 1993 and 2003) as of 2004 to 45% from 2004 to 2008, while outright disagreement has risen from 0% to 6% (Oreskes, 2004; Schulte, 2008).” A 30-point drop is significant, no?

But, nonetheless, the point of my reply to that commenter was questioning the basis of this “consensus” as itself was derived from a faulty survey. Whether it was the one conducted by James Powell in 2014 or the 2011 PNAS study both of which generated a 97% “consensus” – they both also used a methodology designes to exclude studies that disagreed with agw in their pool of studies to survey for a rate of agreement or disagreement with agw.

The study the forbes article reviews is itself a survey of surveys that smooths out the surveyor’s biases. James Powell rightly acknowledges that his 2014 methodology was highly subjective and recognizing that his survey was not exhaustive.

Appeals to authority, which is what i was responding to, are illogical and invalid arguments. I illustrated that by presenting contrary info to question the appeal.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

John Lascurettes
It’s also written by a Forbes columnist that routinely writes, almost exclusively, articles on how there is no man-made crisis.
PS: the reason why you couldn’t respond is that the reply is too many layers deep. It’s part of the commenting plugin BP.org uses.
Recommended 3

So what if he routinely writes in one direction? I have to conclude then that writes of their opinion. People derive conclusions from their obervations and then publish their conclusions. Hence, youre saying that since they writr in favor of one conclusion or another that they are automatically suspect, ie, their integrity ought to be questioned.

Do you think the same way od Michael Mann or James Hansen? Their publishing runs 100% toward agw. You must also question their integrity, too, right?

Or, is what youre really saying is that if an author writes something you disagree with, then that author’s integrity must be questioned?

I am guessing thats what you’re really saying.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

Dave
And it’s a particularly hilarious example for two reasons:
One, it was specifically designed to test perceptions in a biased group, i.e. professionals within the oil & gas industry.
Two, even within what one would expect to be a group fairly hostile to climate science, the acknowledgement of anthropogenic climate change and support for regulation of carbon emissions was high – only 34% actually had a negative opinion. The majority agreed that AGW is real and will require real meaasures to solve.
So, he’s accusing climate scientists of cherry picking and misrepresenting data, and to prove his point he’s cherry picking and misrepresenting data showing that even petroleum engineers don’t believe this hogwash.
Recommended 4

Uh, why do you suspect that they were biased? You see, you start with an unfair presumption that they lack credibility and integrity simply based on your presumptions about employees of a certain industry. I do not share that unfair presumption.

Second, you’re misrepresenting the results. 36% agreed with agw. Thats the “majority” youre appealing to here. 36 is far less than 97, no? AGW consensus, what?

Further, the remaining 60% didn’t conclude that climate change was man made and a large number further concluded that man could do very little about it.

Hence, that 97% consensus = crumbled.

dave
Guest
dave

I suspect the respondents were biased because that was an explicit goal of the study.

From the study authors:

“Although our data set is large and diverse enough for our research questions, it cannot be used for generalizations such as “respondents believe …” or “scientists don’t believe …” Our research reconstructs the frames the members of a professional association hold about the issue and the argumentative patterns and legitimation strategies these professionals use when articulating their assumptions. …even within the confines of our non-representative data set, the interpretation that a majority of the respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of global warming is simply not correct. To the contrary: the majority believes that humans do have their hands in climate change, even if many of them believe that humans are not the only cause.”

The study itself found that 99.4% agreed that the climate is changing. 36% fell into what the authors called a “comply with Kyoto” frame. 5% fell into a “regulation activist” frame. 17% were fatalists, who spread the blame between humans and nature but felt taking action was pointless. 10% said it could be natural or human caused, but would be too economically disruptive to address either way. Only 24% took the “it’s entirely natural” tack.

Jon M
Guest
Jon M

dave
I suspect the respondents were biased because that was an explicit goal of the study.
From the study authors:
“Although our data set is large and diverse enough for our research questions, it cannot be used for generalizations such as “respondents believe …” or “scientists don’t believe …” Our research reconstructs the frames the members of a professional association hold about the issue and the argumentative patterns and legitimation strategies these professionals use when articulating their assumptions. …even within the confines of our non-representative data set, the interpretation that a majority of the respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of global warming is simply not correct. To the contrary: the majority believes that humans do have their hands in climate change, even if many of them believe that humans are not the only cause.”
The study itself found that 99.4% agreed that the climate is changing. 36% fell into what the authors called a “comply with Kyoto” frame. 5% fell into a “regulation activist” frame. 17% were fatalists, who spread the blame between humans and nature but felt taking action was pointless. 10% said it could be natural or human caused, but would be too economically disruptive to address either way. Only 24% took the “it’s entirely natural” tack.
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Wait… The respondents were biased because that was a goal of the study? How could a study make the respondents biased? Maybe you meant to say that the study was biased because of it’s methodology, but that doesnt hold because you were smearing the respondents despite not knowing anything about them individually and only because you disagree with their positions.

Further, that the climate is changing is self-evident. If there was anything less than 100% agreement with this then I’d be worried. But the point I was xhallenfing was the false assertion that scientific consensus is meaningful and that it was nearly universal re: agw. Note that agw is different than climate change.

Nonetheless, what is true is that despite the repeated falsehood of agw “consensus”, today, we see far less agreement with agw and we have witnessed a deceitful tranisition from agw to climate change.

It is one thing to present scientifically-derived facts and a wholly different thing to present policy prescriptions as scientific because you preface that preaxription with a scientific fact.