Thank you for your email post regarding your vote to sustain the President’s veto of a bill that would have forced the Administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. As I said in my previous correspondence, I respectfully disagree with your position on the KXL project. It is not about oil as it’s primary purpose, but about jobs and safety.
Why do I say safety? The development of the tar sands in Canada will continue regardless of whether there is a KXL Pipeline through the US or not. The tar sands are already being heated and converted to a liquid state for transport through the US on trains and by trucks, which have both proven to be quit dangerous as witness by several severe explosions in both Canada and the US. A pipeline would greatly improve that safety record.
You say, “A pipeline that increases carbon pollution and further hastens climate change does not serve our national interest” and I say I flatly disagree with that reasoning. The oil will be processed and sold on the world market anyway because the demand is there. A pipeline would only provide a safer and more cost effective solution to the transport of the oil. Therefore, the KXL is not about any decrease in carbon pollution as you say but primarily about long term temporary construction jobs for thousands of workers and more permanent jobs in the well established oil and gas industries. The KXL is not about the oil industry making more money and a greater profit either because they are going to do that anyway. They are in the business to market oil and make a profit. As a Senator, I am sure you already understand what it means to make a very large salary and a huge profit over the average blue collar middle class hard working American. Nice, isn’t it, and I’m having no problem with you making that much. It is your incentive like it was mine at one time. So let’s leave those 1% out of the discussion. They provide a lot of jobs.
You also said, “We should be investing in clean energy technologies that will eliminate carbon emissions while also creating good-paying jobs for American workers” and I agree 100% and the direction the US Energy policy should be going is Nuclear Energy. If you want to achieve the goal of your statement, there is no other cost effective or environmentally safer solution than investing in the latest state of advanced nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel streams. The US is currently building only 5 generation 3+ passive light water reactors after a 40 year hiatus following the Three Mile Island incident back in 1979. The one and most important drawback to continuing the investment of Gen3+ reactors is that we still are left with unused uranium fuel rods that have to be stored and managed. The solution is for commercial nuclear reactors to consume all the nuclear fuel (even from those stored rods) so that long term storage above ground or below ground is not necessary.
Can that be done? Yes, it has already been proven with molten salt reactor demonstration prototypes as far back as the 1960’s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. I emphasis USA because our scientist designed and developed molten salt technology for nuclear reactors and our current administration has ‘given’ all the design material along with consultant services from our prestigious Universities to China. Yes, I said ‘gave it to China’ to develop and most likely IP as their own technology. Why would we, the USA, do such a thing? I do know and understand why the Chinese are so interested in the molten salt reactor (MSR) technology and I support their effort to develop it. But why should they be the ones to do it first?
I understand why you and other Senators are more interested in a pipeline with a little bit of oil flowing through it or concerns over a little bit of fighting going on in the Middle East, but I can tell you this from a purely scientific perspective. The world energy sources beyond oil, gas and a few wind mill and solar panels is a larger concern for a stable future. Provide the world with unlimited cheap energy and a lot of those smaller distractions will not seem so news worthy. How would bountiful world energy supply be provided? With advance molten salt nuclear technology developed by the Chinese, who now have a head start and the US will be left behind.
What is molten salt technology? I am not going to explain the details of the technology in this letter response. I only want to bring it to your attention and would encourage that you or your aids take a little time to get a better understanding. I would also encourage you and your staff to also spend some time and get a better understanding of wind and solar technologies and not rely on just all the hype sound bytes.
A few of the many sources for Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium Fuel Streams:
An Educational Library: http://www.egeneration.org/
An Organized Foundation: http://www.energyfromthorium.com/
Efforts by a US Company: http://flibe-energy.com/
Efforts by a Canadian Company: http://terrestrialenergy.com/
A learned science hobbyist
CC: Senator Udall (D-NM), Senator Heinrich (D-NM)