Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romney Doesn’t Understand Technology He’s Promoting

In a recent speech, former Governor Mitt (Willard) Romney referred to the oil flowing through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline is being touted as a solution to American oil needs.  The pipe would run from Alberta, where tar sands are mined, to Texas.

Tar sands are a petroleum precursor to oil, similar to oil shale found in the Rocky Mountains.  In both cases the substance must be treated to convert it from tar sands or oil shale into oil.  Then, the oil needs to be refined into standard petroleum products.

So, the obvious question, which Romney has apparently never asked is:  What exactly would be flowing through the XL pipeline?

It ain’t oil.

What would be flowing through the pipe is a substance called diluted bitumen.  Bitumen is the technical name for tar sands.  Bitumen will not flow through a pipe, so they dilute with a series of hydrocarbons (the composition of which they will not reveal to regulators), creating a fluid-type substance.  Coal is shipped through pipelines is a similar fashion.

Though it may seem trivial, when the President recommends an action, he should understand the basics of the technology behind it.

I don’t mind that a legislator or president doesn’t know how the substance is refined or the specifications of how it is pumped.  I do, however, mind when a legislator, president, of candidate makes a big deal out of something and doesn’t know the basics of it.

Any governmental official or governmental official wannabe who espouses a project should ask some basic questions:  In this case …
  • What is tar sand?
  • What’s going to go through this pipeline?
  • How much energy goes into making a unit of refined product?  More than contained in the refined product?
  • What are the environmental risks of the project?
  • What are the employment opportunities created from the project?
  • Where will the money for the project come from?
  • Where will the profits go?

When Willard tells us that oil will flow through the pipeline … Is he lying?  Is he lazy?  Is he not smart enough?  Is he just not curious?

Didn't we learn from eight years under a uncurious President?

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