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Biden’s First 17 Executive Orders....and 20 others in first week

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nebish
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World Class Peach

[quote]

Biden’s 17 Executive Orders and Other Directives in Detail

The moves aim to strengthen protections for young immigrants, end construction of President Donald J. Trump’s border wall, end a travel ban and prioritize racial equity.

  • Jan. 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — In 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations signed hours after his inauguration, President Biden moved swiftly on Wednesday to dismantle Trump administration policies his aides said have caused the “greatest damage” to the nation.

Despite an inaugural address that called for unity and compromise, Mr. Biden’s first actions as president are sharply aimed at sweeping aside former President Donald J. Trump’s pandemic response, reversing his environmental agenda, tearing down his anti-immigration policies, bolstering the teetering economic recovery and restoring federal efforts to promote diversity.

Here’s a look at what the measures aim to accomplish.

Mr. Biden has signed an executive order appointing Jeffrey D. Zients as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president, in an effort to “aggressively” gear up the nation’s response to the pandemic. The order also restores the directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, a group Mr. Trump had disbanded.

Though it is not a national mask mandate, which would most likely fall to a legal challenge, Mr. Biden is requiring social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property and by all federal employees. He is also starting a “100 days masking challenge” urging all Americans to wear masks and state and local officials to implement public measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

eading the main storyMr. Biden is also reinstating ties with the World Health Organization after the Trump administration chose to withdraw the nation’s membership and funding last year. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci will be the head of the U.S. delegation to the organization’s executive board and will jump into the role with a meeting this week.

With an executive order, Mr. Biden has bolstered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects from deportation immigrants brought to the United States as children, often called Dreamers. Mr. Trump sought for years to end the program, known as DACA. The order also calls on Congress to enact legislation providing permanent status and a path to citizenship for those immigrants.

Another executive order revokes the Trump administration’s plan to exclude noncitizens from the census count, and another overturns a Trump executive order that pushed aggressive efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants. Yet another order blocks the deportation of Liberians who have been living in the United States.

In a blow to one of his predecessor’s earliest actions to limit immigration, Mr. Biden has also ended the so-called Muslim ban, which blocked travel to the United States from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. Mr. Biden has directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the affected countries and to develop ways to address the harm caused to those who were prevented from coming to the United States because of the ban.

Mr. Biden has also halted construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The order includes an “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration that allowed the Trump administration to redirect billions of dollars to the wall. It says the administration will begin “a close review” of the legality of the effort to divert federal money to fund the wall.

e reading the main stOn Climate ChangeChief among executive orders that begin to tackle the issue of climate change, Mr. Biden has signed a letter to re-enter the United States in the Paris climate accords, which it will officially rejoin 30 days from now. In 2019, Mr. Trump formally notified the United Nations that the United States would withdraw from the coalition of nearly 200 countries working to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

In additional executive orders, Mr. Biden began the reversal of a slew of the Trump administration’s environmental policies, including revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline; reversing the rollbacks to vehicle emissions standards; undoing decisions to slash the size of several national monuments; enforcing a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

Mr. Biden will end the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, which released a report on Monday that historians said distorted the role of slavery in the United States, among other history. Mr. Biden also revoked Mr. Trump’s executive order limiting the ability of federal agencies, contractors and other institutions to hold diversity and inclusion training.

The president designated Susan E. Rice, who is the head of his Domestic Policy Council, as the leader of a “robust, interagency” effort requiring all federal agencies to make “rooting out systemic racism” central to their work. His order directs the agencies to review and report on equity in their ranks within 200 days, including a plan on how to remove barriers to opportunities in policies and programs. The order also moves to ensure that Americans of all backgrounds have equal access to federal government resources, benefits and services. It starts a data working group as well as the study of new methods to measure and assess federal equity and diversity efforts.

Another executive order reinforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require that the federal government does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a policy that reverses action by Mr. Trump’s administration.

Mr. Biden is moving to extend a federal moratorium on evictions and has asked agencies, including the Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development Departments, to prolong a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages that was enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The extensions all run through at least the end of March.

The president is also moving to continue a pause on federal student loan interest and principal payments through the end of September, although progressive groups and some congressional Democrats have pushed Mr. Biden to go much further and cancel up to $50,000 in student debt per person.

Following in the footsteps of some of his predecessors, Mr. Biden has established ethics rules for those who serve in his administration that aim “to restore and maintain trust in the government.” He has ordered all of his appointees in the executive branch to sign an ethics pledge.

Finally, Mr. Biden issued a freeze on all new regulations put in motion by his predecessor to give his administration time to evaluate which ones it wants to move forward. The memorandum is aimed at preventing so-called midnight regulations, policies pushed through by a lame-duck president unconstrained by electoral considerations. The fast pace often cuts short the opportunity for the public or industry to review the policies.

 

Aishvarya Kavi is based in the Washington bureau. @AishvaryaKavi

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/biden-executive-orders.html

[/quote]

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 11:33 am
nebish
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Posted by: @nebish

The order also restores the directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, a group Mr. Trump had disbanded

Washington Post ran a story last year and Reuters has a story diving into the statement of "disbanding".

Conclusion being that the team was largely minimized but the task of the unit remained just blended into existing NSC groups.

One could say the net effect was the same, but how one presents the statement matters at least a little.  I don't think it is accurate to say it was completely "disbanded".

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 12:11 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @nebish

In a blow to one of his predecessor’s earliest actions to limit immigration, Mr. Biden has also ended the so-called Muslim ban, which blocked travel to the United States from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. Mr. Biden has directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the affected countries and to develop ways to address the harm caused to those who were prevented from coming to the United States because of the ban.

It was never a "Muslim ban".  It was only a travel ban on individuals from Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran and Iraq.  Very dangerous countries and hot beds for radical islamic terror groups; 2 of the countries are officially listed by the CIA as state sponsors of terrorism - banning travel from such counties is wise in my opinion.

If it was a true "Muslim ban" of course it would be much more wide reaching than just these 7 countries and the one thing that ties them all together is the terror threat.

I'd say maybe there was a better way to do this, a more refined and sensitive or selective way to vet the people coming from these counties and if so, I'm fine with doing it that way instead.  Absent of that, I never had a problem with the ban. 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 12:25 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @nebish

Mr. Biden has also halted construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The order includes an “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration that allowed the Trump administration to redirect billions of dollars to the wall. It says the administration will begin “a close review” of the legality of the effort to divert federal money to fund the wall.

I always, and remain supportive of more physical barriers on our borders where it makes the most sense.

Stopping construction and the funding, I get it.  Very controversial and a hot button issue all around.  As long as they do not take down newly constructed wall/fence, I can live with this decision.

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 12:27 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @nebish

Mr. Biden has signed a letter to re-enter the United States in the Paris climate accords, which it will officially rejoin 30 days from now. In 2019, Mr. Trump formally notified the United Nations that the United States would withdraw from the coalition of nearly 200 countries working to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

I get this too.  It's not surprising and I don't think anyone on the other side should be upset really.

My complaint has always been that the agreement shows preferential treatment towards China and India and being they are key competitors with us for industry and jobs it in turn, puts us at an economic disadvantage to them.  Trump liked to cry about things not being fair, I don't think the Paris Climate Accords are fair for the US, but if climate change is a pressing threat and one wants to take action towards addressing it, then I suppose what is "fair" to the US in other areas as a result of the agreement are not a concern. 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 12:30 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @nebish

In additional executive orders, Mr. Biden began the reversal of a slew of the Trump administration’s environmental policies, including revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline; reversing the rollbacks to vehicle emissions standards; undoing decisions to slash the size of several national monuments; enforcing a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

I am an outdoor and environmental recreationalist and enthusiast and am not an environmental protectionist.  Sometimes actions taken to protect certain lands from development and energy exploitation also then restrict recreation on such lands.  So I am generally for protecting lands from development so long as they do not also exclude certain types of recreation on the land, but in fact often times the timber or oil/gas industry actually creates roads to recreate on that otherwise might not have been there.  There is a careful balance that too many Democrats on the protection side fail to either be aware of or actually want to in fact limit the recreation in these areas.  To me, more or larger national monument designations are bad.  But I understand that with a Democratic administration this is what you get therefore my efforts to support groups defending recreation rights on public lands needs to increase.  Hopefully we don't get a bunch of new wilderness or roadless acts in this administration.

MPG standards for auto companies have been with us for so long before Trump removed them and really the auto companies have been making their internal combustion engines more and more and more efficient that this isn't that much of a big deal either.  The amount of power they can produce with such small displacement engines and less fuel consumption is rather amazing.  Larger and heavier vehicles designed for work can be a challenge as their MPG use can be poor.  Some of those vehicles have been excluded in past CAFE MPG standards, I would hope that remains to be the case.

And Keystone pipeline?  At this point, who really cares?  I think pipelines are safer than transporting it by rail, but I guess others don't see it that way (or secretly or not so secretly those opposing the pipeline likely loathe oil carried by rail too).  The pipeline has been such a football for almost as long as I can remember.  The amount of oil we get out of Canada currently as it is without the Keystone pipeline is so large and has increased so much, I really can't see how Keystone would be that much of a benefit. 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 12:45 pm
Chain
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Native American and other indigenous groups in Canada certainly care about pipelines...We know they have all sorts of construction and long term maintenance issues no matter what the companies who build and own them say.  And rail transport is not without risk as well.  

One other issue is most if not all of the actual crude being moved via the Keystone will be tar sand crude from Alberta. Take a look at the destruction and decimation tar sand crude processing causes to the landscape. It’s deplorable and life threatening to those who live in and around these huge processing facilities.  All for sub par crude that produces little more energy that what is needed to extract and move it to market......

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Posted : January 21, 2021 1:09 pm
nebish liked
nebish
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Posted by: @chain

Native American and other indigenous groups in Canada certainly care about pipelines...We know they have all sorts of construction and long term maintenance issues no matter what the companies who build and own them say.  And rail transport is not without risk as well.  

One other issue is most if not all of the actual crude being moved via the Keystone will be tar sand crude from Alberta. Take a look at the destruction and decimation tar sand crude processing causes to the landscape. It’s deplorable and life threatening to those who live in and around these huge processing facilities.  All for sub par crude that produces little more energy that what is needed to extract and move it to market......

Some 63% of Canada's oil production in 2019 came from oil sands.  That is without the Keystone pipeline.  So assuming Keystone never gets completed and assuming Canada's 2019 oil production remains consistent then 2/3 of their oil comes from oil sands and stopping Keystone isn't going to change that.

I'm not defending the Keystone project.  I said at this point, who cares - I should've said who cares that actually defended it and wanted it beyond the small industry that would benefit from it.  Canada and the US both are benefiting from Canada's current oil export/import relationship and the supposed jobs that we were told Keystone would support can build something else assuming a pending infrastructure project.

I know how dirty extracting oil from the oil sands is.  But Canada is a progressive developed Western country.  If they don't want to do it, then they can stop.  Cutting the Keystone Pipeline project isn't going to stop it. 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 2:07 pm
PorkchopBob
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Posted by: @nebish

There is a careful balance that too many Democrats on the protection side fail to either be aware of or actually want to in fact limit the recreation in these areas.

Curious, what type of recreation are you referring to? Some forms of recreation can disturb a protected environment.

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : January 21, 2021 2:23 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @porkchopbob
Posted by: @nebish

There is a careful balance that too many Democrats on the protection side fail to either be aware of or actually want to in fact limit the recreation in these areas.

Curious, what type of recreation are you referring to? Some forms of recreation can disturb a protected environment.

 

 

Mechanical (mountain bikes) or motorized (on or offroad vehicles).

 

You can't take a mountain bike into a designated wilderness (or use a chain saw).  And then lawful use of on and offroad vehicles on Bureau of Land Management or National Forest designated existing roads often are threatened for closure from environmental groups.

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 2:28 pm
PorkchopBob
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@nebish do you mean a main access road or a designated ATV trail?

I used to do a lot of canoe/camping trips and we'd get ATVs driving all over our sand bar circling our camp. There are definitely places those vehicles are destructive and shouldn't be going.

Honest questions - why would you bring a chain saw into a protected wilderness area?

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : January 21, 2021 3:06 pm
Chain
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@nebish

 

Ending Keystone of course won't end tar sand crude protection but it won't be piped eastward across a number of environmentally sensitive areas in both Canada and the United States.  I suspect it will go the other direction toward ports on the western seaboard and be exported to Asia should it actually be built.

Either way Biden's executive order is a big victory for environmental groups and some indigenous tribes on both sides of the border.

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Posted : January 21, 2021 3:59 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @porkchopbob

@nebish do you mean a main access road or a designated ATV trail?

I used to do a lot of canoe/camping trips and we'd get ATVs driving all over our sand bar circling our camp. There are definitely places those vehicles are destructive and shouldn't be going.

Honest questions - why would you bring a chain saw into a protected wilderness area?

I agree, vehicles in the wrong place can be destructive.  

Vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles, etc all need to stay on designated routes.  The people that blaze off trail give everyone who uses the trail system a bad name and create reasons and motivations for those who want to close access.  In many cases, local offroad clubs partner with the Forest Service or BLM district to erect signage or even natural barriers (rocks, berms) or fencing in some cases to protect sensitive or restored areas and keep people on established routes.

It sounds like you have seen an area that people abuse.  Instead of closing off that entire region to motorized access, instead, the through routes can and should remain open, but signage and when appropriate barriers to keep vehicles where they should be can be used.  Sometimes though the push is just to close the whole area.

I travel a couple hundred miles of USFS and BLM roads and trails every year in Colorado.  Occasionally I will see unauthorized roads and tracks.  It isn't like the entire trail system is chaos of spur trails scaring the landscape, I mean in some areas it has been like that for decades, but that is the exception.  I often see signage indicating a closed area or trail and also fencing around restoration areas or sensitive areas.  If I am in a group or leading a group of vehicles setting a good example by always staying on established routes and discouraging others from going off trail ensures we respect the land we love to access and use. 

BLM and National Forest have designated roads, which roads are legal or not can be found on the most recent MVUM, or motor vehicle use map. Some times trails get closed due to erosion or other conditions that make the trail impassible or perhaps dangerous.  Sometimes these trails can be reopened.  Sometimes trails get closed due to abuse, which is why it is important that people help police each other and the relationship with local offroad clubs have with their forest service district is to keep areas from getting to that point.  And other times, areas and trails get closed just because other people want them to be closed; to keep people out either for protection (maybe justified, maybe not) or for selfish reasons so they don't have to share the public land area with others.  This is the push-pull that environmental groups and motorized enthusiast groups engage in.  I always am very conscious and careful to be respectful of others on the trail and if I encounter.  Sometimes I come up on people when I'm in my Jeep and I wave and say hi and I just get a dirty look.  Hey, we all area able to use our public lands, let's respect each others rights.

There is a whole process for travel management plans and comment periods and so forth.  Sometimes it gets contentious with different groups either fighting to keep a trail open or fighting to close it.  People petition the forest service, the forest service allows comments on a revised plan and then the forest service makes their decisions.  More often than not, the closure advocates win some or all of their requests, so as existing trails close, it creates overcrowding on some of the remaining trails.

Expanding wilderness boundaries, wilderness study areas (WSA) or creating or expanding national monument boundaries into or taking away from existing USFS or BLM land change how people can use the land and existing trails.

As for chain saws - snow slides, avalanches or mass blow-down of trees can create some serious carnage over a hiking or horseback trail.  They clear it with old fashioned man power saws in wilderness, seems like an odd exclusion, but that is what wilderness requires, no mechanized or motorized equipment.  I have seen some very large areas of twisted trees over top of a trail.

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 4:18 pm
nebish
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Posted by: @chain

@nebish

 

Ending Keystone of course won't end tar sand crude protection but it won't be piped eastward across a number of environmentally sensitive areas in both Canada and the United States.  I suspect it will go the other direction toward ports on the western seaboard and be exported to Asia should it actually be built.

Either way Biden's executive order is a big victory for environmental groups and some indigenous tribes on both sides of the border.

It's fine.  I am conceding the pipeline project and I don't think Republicans should seize on this EO when trying to find fault with the Biden administration.  For something this controversial, the end benefit should be substantial and I just don't think it is worth the fight for Keystone any longer.  All your concerns are good, if or when we are talking about a project that has widespread benefit for our country I think we can and should find a way to get it done.  Keystone is not a vital interest to our county, especially in light of how much we have increased oil imports from Canada without it. 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 4:21 pm
PorkchopBob
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@nebish cool, thanks for clarifying. It's a hobby I don't know much about and just wanted to understand what types of trails, since ATV and mountain bike trails I've seen are typically separate from pedestrian and car traffic, for safety and practicality. I wasn't aware there was a push to close them. But, by design, hikers are only going to see those who are doing it wrong.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : January 21, 2021 4:36 pm
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nebish
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Posted by: @porkchopbob

@nebish cool, thanks for clarifying. It's a hobby I don't know much about and just wanted to understand what types of trails, since ATV and mountain bike trails I've seen are typically separate from pedestrian and car traffic, for safety and practicality. I wasn't aware there was a push to close them. But, by design, hikers are only going to see those who are doing it wrong.

There are many trails that are dedicated single track dirt bike or mountain bike, many trails that are dedicated for OHV that are 50" wide or less (4 wheelers, side-by-sides) and then there are trails that are for licensed and unlicensed vehicles whereby all users rely upon.  Some alpine lakes are accessed through one trail, that trail might have dirt bikes on it, Jeeps and hikers all at the same time.  Most people are respectful and friendly.  But if one guy goes screaming by a group of hikers throwing up dust and rocks, those hikers are going to remember that and it leaves an impression.  If a Jeep goes by with loud music or they see a group far off the trail getting a cool (but illegal) photo-op that is going to leave a bad impression.

 

So people who use motorized recreation like myself have to realize that we have to do the right thing and leave a good impression so to not give people a reason to want to close access.  If I see hikers coming down against the direction I am traveling, I always pull over a little and stop and engage them in just a little pleasant conversation.  If I am hiking and I see ATVs come running up the trail, I get out of their way and wave.

 

A lot of people complain about over crowded and "loving the land to death", but what they don't realize is that if you close areas that is only going to force people into the remaining open areas thereby creating more overcrowding.  It is pretty rare that once the motorized access goes away to an area, it doesn't come back.  So it is very important that we try to keep what we have.

 

One method I particularly like is "cherry stemming" a trail.  Instead of closing an entire region and losing the trail/road access, I have been on trails that look like a "cherry stem" on a map where the trail essentially has a right-of-way to travel through a region but wilderness boundary might be 10' or less on either side of the trail.  Just to clarify when I say trail or road, in the fashion I am referring to is high clearance four wheel drive type trails or roads. 

 

It's the same theme I try to get across with everything.  The motorized access groups shouldn't get everything they want and the anti-motorized access group shouldn't get everything they want. 

 

It's much easier to just close off an entire swath of land rather than taking the time to evaluate routes and remap certain recreational uses and listening to opinions.  So that is the fight.  I'm not opposed to national monuments per se, but because national moment designation can be done solely at the President's discretion (Antiquities Act) it bypasses the normal process where motorized access groups can lobby their representatives in Congress when bills are drafted to try and protect land use rights.

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 4:53 pm
robertdee
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Several powerful unions, the Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian government are very irritated about the XL pipeline. Over 11,000 excellent paying jobs will be lost. Layoffs begin tomorrow. Plus the hundreds of jobs connected to the operation and maintenance of the pipeline including trucking jobs connected to this project. Prime Minister Trudeau said they are very disappointed and perhaps they can work something out with Biden. If not they may be able to see a thousand miles of pipes for scrap metal. 

This will make the US more reliant on crude from Saudi Arabia,  Russia etc. 

Play the wrong hand here and it will help the Republicans recapture the House and Senate in two years. 

Personally I think Biden may have messed up here. 

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Posted : January 21, 2021 5:05 pm
PorkchopBob
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@nebish For sure, there's always someone who can ruin it for everyone else, and why we get restrictions and regulation.

I'm also totally for closing off certain areas to the public as well, since some areas and its wildlife are too fragile to handle some of the more invasive recreation. But I'm not sure if it would better or worse going through a committee. The Everglades has been untouched since Teddy Roosevelt declared it, and FL has developed right up to its borders.

 

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : January 21, 2021 5:32 pm
Sang
 Sang
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If I remember right, most of that oil from the pipeline was going to be sold elsewhere - not the US.   Why doesn't Canada build it's own refineries?  I seem to remember that being part of the problem.  Here is an article by the Natural  Resources Defense Council - so of course biased against the pipeline, but the first article I saw.

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/what-keystone-pipeline#controversy

 

Here is an excerpt:

What is Keystone XL?

The Keystone XL pipeline extension, proposed by energy infrastructure company TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) in 2008, was designed to transport the planet’s dirtiest fossil fuel to market—fast. An expansion of the company’s existing Keystone Pipeline System, which has been operating since 2010 (and is already sending Canadian tar sands crude from Alberta to various processing hubs in the middle of the United States), it would dramatically increase capacity to process the 168 billion barrels of crude oil locked up under Canada’s boreal forest. To be precise, it would transport 830,000 barrels of Alberta tar sands oil per day to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Some 3 million miles of oil and gas pipelines already run through our country. But Keystone XL wouldn’t be your average pipeline, and tar sand oil isn’t your average crude.

Beneath the wilds of northern Alberta’s boreal forest is a sludgy, sticky deposit called tar sands. These sands contain bitumen, a gooey type of petroleum that can be converted into fuel. It’s no small feat extracting oil from tar sands, and doing so comes with steep environmental and economic costs. Nevertheless, in the mid-2000s, with gas prices on the rise, oil companies ramped up production and sought additional ways to move their product from Canada’s remote tar sands fields to midwestern and Gulf Coast refineries.

Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Impact

Leaks and the pipeline

Tar sands oil is thicker, more acidic, and more corrosive than lighter conventional crude, and this ups the likelihood that a pipeline carrying it will leak. Indeed, one study found that between 2007 and 2010, pipelines moving tar sands oil in Midwestern states spilled three times more per mile than the U.S. national average for pipelines carrying conventional crude. Since it first went into operation in 2010, TC Energy’s original Keystone Pipeline System has leaked more than a dozen times; one incident in North Dakota sent a 60-foot, 21,000-gallon geyser of tar sands oil spewing into the air. Most recently, on October 31, 2019, the Keystone tar sands pipeline was temporarily shut down after a spill in North Dakota of reportedly more than 378,000 gallons. And the risk that Keystone XL will spill has only been heightened: A study published in early 2020, co-authored by TC Energy’s own scientists, found that the anti-corrosion coating on pipes for the project is defective from being stored outside and exposed to the elements for the last decade.

Complicating matters, leaks can be difficult to detect. And when tar sands oil does spill, it’s more difficult to clean up than conventional crude because it immediately sinks to the bottom of the waterway. People and wildlife coming into contact with tar sands oil are exposed to toxic chemicals, and rivers and wetland environments are at particular risk from a spill. (For evidence, recall the 2010 tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a disaster that cost Enbridge more than a billion dollars in cleanup fees and took six years to settle in court.) Keystone XL would cross agriculturally important and environmentally sensitive areas, including hundreds of rivers, streams, aquifers, and water bodies. One is Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions as well as 30 percent of America’s irrigation water. A spill would be devastating to the farms, ranches, and communities that depend on these crucial ecosystems.

What is tar sands oil?

The tar sands industry is just as hard on the cradle of its business. Its mines are a blight on Canada’s boreal, where operations dig up and flatten forests to access the oil below, destroying wildlife habitat and one of the world’s largest carbon sinks. They deplete and pollute freshwater resources, create massive ponds of toxic waste, and threaten the health and livelihood of the First Nations people who live near them. Refining the sticky black gunk produces piles of petroleum coke, a hazardous, coal-like by-product. What’s more, the whole process of getting the oil out and making it usable creates three to four times the carbon pollution of conventional crude extraction and processing. “This isn’t your grandfather’s typical oil,” says Anthony Swift, director of NRDC’s Canada project. “It’s nasty stuff.”

Keystone XL and climate change

A fully realized Keystone XL would lead to more mining of that “nasty stuff” by accelerating the pace at which it’s produced and transported. (Indeed, Keystone XL was viewed as a necessary ingredient in the oil industry’s plans to triple tar sands production by 2030.) 

It would also lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, the EPA stated that tar sands oil emits 17 percent more carbon than other types of crude, but ironically, the State Department revised this number upward three years later, stating that the emissions could be “5 percent to 20 percent higher than previously indicated.” That means burdening the planet with an extra 178.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, the same impact as 38.5 million passenger vehicles or 45.8 coal-fired power plants. Finally, the pipeline would undermine efforts to minimize global warming and prioritize clean energy like wind and solar. Leading climate scientist and former NASA researcher James Hansen has warned that fully exploiting Canada’s tar sands reserves would mean “game over” for our climate. In short, tar sands oil represents no small threat to our environment, and our best stance against it, as the rallying cry goes, is to “keep it in the ground.”

Keystone XL Pipeline Controversy

Opposition to Keystone XL centers on the devastating environmental consequences of the project. The pipeline has faced years of sustained protests from environmental activists and organizations; Indigenous communities; religious leaders; and the farmers, ranchers, and business owners along its proposed route. One such protest, a historic act of civil disobedience outside the White House in August 2011, resulted in the arrest of more than 1,200 demonstrators. More than 90 leading scientists and economists have opposed the project, in addition to unions and world leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former president Jimmy Carter (together, these and other Nobel laureates have written letters against the project). In 2014, more than two million comments urging a rejection of the pipeline were submitted to the State Department during a 30-day public comment period.

In the two years leading up to the November 2014 midterm elections, the fossil fuel industry spent more than $720 million to court allies in Congress. When industry-friendly politicians took charge of both congressional houses in January 2015, their first order of business was to pass a bill to speed up approval of Keystone XL. (That effort failed.)

“So what if there’s no pipeline . . .Big Oil will find a way.”

One of the central arguments by pipeline pushers is that tar sands expansion will move forward with or without Keystone XL. This has proved to be untrue. Dealing in tar sands oil is an expensive endeavor. It’s costly both to produce and to ship, particularly by rail, which would be an alternative to Keystone XL. Indeed, moving crude by rail to the Gulf costs twice as much as by pipe. For companies considering whether to invest in a long-lived tar sands project (which could last for 50 years), access to cheap pipeline capacity will play a major role in the decision to move forward or not. Without Keystone XL, the tar sands industry has canceled projects rather than shift to rail, subsequently leaving more of the earth’s dirtiest fuel in the ground where it belongs.

Keystone Pipeline Economic Facts

Will the pipeline create jobs?

The oil industry has lobbied hard to get KXL built by using false claims, political arm-twisting, and big bucks. When TC Energy said the pipeline would create nearly 119,000 jobs, a State Department report instead concluded the project would require fewer than 2,000 two-year construction jobs and that the number of jobs would hover around 35 after construction.

Will the pipeline lower gas prices?

Dirty energy lobbyists claimed developing tar sands would protect our national energy security and bring U.S. fuel prices down. But NRDC and its partners found the majority of Keystone XL oil would be sent to markets overseas (aided by a 2015 reversal of a ban on crude oil exports)—and could even lead to higher prices at U.S. pumps.

President Trump and the Keystone XL Pipeline

When the Obama administration refused to grant the cross-border permit necessary to build TC Energy’s Keystone XL oil pipeline in November 2015, it struck a blow against polluting powers and acknowledged the consensus on this misguided project from a wide swath of people and organizations. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” President Obama said. “And, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” The Obama-era decision echoed a seven-year State Department review process with EPA input that concluded the pipeline would fail to serve national interests.

Upon entering office, President Trump—with his pro-polluter cabinet of fossil fuel advocates, billionaires, and bankers—quickly demonstrated that his priorities differed. On his fourth day in office, Trump signed an executive order to allow Keystone XL to move forward. On March 28, 2017, his administration illegally approved a cross-border permit for the pipeline, reversing the Obama administration’s robust National Interest Determination process. When that failed—thanks to a lawsuit brought by NRDC and other groups—President Trump reissued the cross-border permit himself. His administration has also attempted to issue other permits for the project, all based on flawed environmental analyses, prompting two more lawsuits from NRDC and its allies.

Opposition outside the courts has been swift and strong as well. Farmers, ranchers, tribes, and conservation groups have helped keep the project stalled for the past four years, ensuring it made the long list of President Trump’s failed campaign promises. 

President Biden and the Keystone XL Pipeline

Even as Trump and TC Energy tried to revive the pipeline, polls showed that a majority of Americans opposed it. The market case, even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent oil prices plummeting, has also deteriorated. Low oil prices and increasing public concern over the climate have led Shell, Exxon, Statoil, and Total to either sell their tar sands assets or write them down. Because of this growing market recognition, major new tar sands projects haven't moved forward with construction for years, despite investments from the government of Alberta, Canada. For example, in 2020, Teck Resources withdrew its ten-year application to build the largest tar sands mine in history—citing growing concern surrounding climate change in global markets. 

In May 2020, while campaigning in the Democratic primary for the presidential ticket, Joe Biden vowed to cancel the Keystone XL cross-border permit should he win the presidency. He is expected to make good on that promise on his first day in office, January 20, 2021. 

This is one exciting and important step toward ending the project but for the Keystone XL pipeline to truly be finished, the Biden administration must revoke other permits, including the Bureau of Land Management’s right-of-way permit—and prepare for the legal battles that will likely follow.

“President Biden's decision to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on his first day turns the page on a twelve-year fight over the energy future of our country,” said Swift just before Biden’s inauguration. “It sets the stage for a more prosperous future powered by clean energy.”

 
This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Sang
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Posted : January 21, 2021 6:14 pm
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @sang

An expansion of the company’s existing Keystone Pipeline System, which has been operating since 2010 (and is already sending Canadian tar sands crude from Alberta to various processing hubs in the middle of the United States)

Thanks Sang.

From your article, existing pipeline is already transporting tar sand oil through the US via existing pipeline. 

I think objecting to new pipeline projects are as much big picture macro anti-fossil fuel energy as they are specifically principled on the exact project at hand.  I do very much think opponents believe in principled opposition, but it is also optics in that allowing new pipeline only serves to further delay the necessary (they think) transition away from and reliance upon fossil fuels. 

You can't on one hand be a nation that says we are going to get off carbon based energy and go green while at the same time allowing a project such as this to continue.

I'd just say anything that gets turned on by EO can get turned off by EO.  As the article states, this should be no surprise to anyone, Biden long ago signaled his opposition and intentions on the project if he were elected.

The red font is fancy, but hurts to read a little!

Jobs?  Laborers International Union of North America tweeted their disappointment. 

 

https://twitter.com/LIUNA/status/1351680949239615488

 

And a press release:

https://www.liuna.org/news/story/canceling-keystone-kills-union-jobs

 

This is but just one conflict big tent political parties run into, you believe in and want to pacify this interest group over here, but you hurt this interest group over here.

I read Canada has something like 17 oil refineries.  The United States has 135.  There would be no guarantee any refined products from additional oil would be for US consumption, but we would get the pass through refinery jobs (if more input meant more labor or more shifts to process) and we'd also get the work of exporting it, if it were exporting it.

It's fine to me if the risk is not deemed to be worth the reward.  I'm not fighting for Keystone XL, we still have plain old regular Keystone without the XL.

Without Keystone XL, looks like we are doing fine on our oil imports from Canada. 

image

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2021 7:59 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau claims the XL will enhance environmental concerns and is looking forward to making his case for the pipeline face to face with Biden.

Yes the extreme environmental groups keep these projects tied up in court and it is their goal to ruin these projects and insure the companies involved lose their shirts financially on these projects and actually see oil executives criminally charged. 

A commonsense approach would be to work with oil companies on climate change. Get them involved in R&D on new fuels that cut emissions in internal combustion engines and jet engines. Give them incentives to install charging stations at their 100,000 filling stations and make money off those who wish to drive an electric vehicle and help R&D on carbon capture.  

But no the far left environmentalists want to treat oil companies like they are selling heroin on school playgrounds. 

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Posted : January 22, 2021 7:28 am
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Just read Elon Musk is offering a $100 million dollar prize from his personal checking account for a working way for Carbon Capture technology.  Anerica needs many carbon capture operations around the country to suck CO2 out of the air.

United Airlines also is pledging 100 million dollars toward carbon capture which will allow United to meet zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.

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Posted : January 22, 2021 8:28 am
Chain
(@chain)
Peach Extraordianire

@robertdee

Agreed...Carbon capture technology is as vital to combating climate change as preventing more carbon being released into the environment...It's two fold and a win-win scenario.  A win for the environment and a win for the economy (and by extension job creation...and by further extension, a win for the middle class who ultimately will fill these jobs).....

 

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Posted : January 22, 2021 6:45 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Currently the United States uses 20 million 540 thousand barrels of crude oil PER DAY!

That is 616 MILLION 200 THOUSAND barrels of crude a month.

7 billion plus a year!!

Let's salute and thank America's oil companies for meeting this tremendous appetite we have for oil. It is a monumental task our oil companies face. Oil is the lifeblood of our economy and the great American standard of living. Without oil our standard of living would still be in the 1800's.

No one reading this will live to see a significant reduction in oil use in America. That is why CARBON CAPTURE is so critical. Carbon capture is the only way air travel can be net zero by 2050. People such as AOC and Bernie Sanders are apparently out of their minds if they think we could shift from airlines to high speed electric rail, remove millions of cars and trucks from our roads by 2030 and shift electricity to all renewables also by 2030. As Biden told them during his run for the Presidency " It can't be done. We will always have need of some oil and gases". 

That is the silly far left environmental movement. They want people to ride bicycles, walk, take sail boates across the Atlantic and shame you if you fly often. In other words live like 1850 except for renewable electricity and high speed internet. Indeed we all work from home, Zoom our business meetings and live in the Intercity with a windmill on your apartment roof. 

With Carbon Capture, Small Nuclear, biofuels ( cooking grease mixed with kerosene) we can fly as often as we want and emit only 20 percent of the CO2 now emitted from jet aircraft. 

High speed electric rail for New York to California will be rejected by most people. Even if the train is non stop and 300 mph it would still take 3 days to get to LA. 

We don't have to give up anything to fight climate change. R & D on biofules, battery storage and incentives for oil companies to invent green fuels to distribute at their existing filling stations. Let the oil companies build the EV charging stations rather than the tax payers for those who want an EV. For the rest very fuel efficient vehicles burning biofuels, heavy trucks, ships and jet aircraft on biofules and a thousand carbon capture installations and plant millions of trees and  nationwide CO2 emissions will be next to nothing and life in America will not change much at all.

I appreciate the far left's concern for climate change and the planet.  But let's have a commonsense approach and avoid disrupting life in America. 

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by robertdee
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Posted : January 23, 2021 12:26 pm
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

I am supportive of aspirational goals of the fight climate change, I am not however supportive of all the measures, or restrictions proposed and mandated.  I'm completely fine with solar and wind and hydro (like ocean tidal hydro power - although might not be considered green by some), hydrogen, nuclear fusion, biofuels, whatever.  I think it is great that these technologies expand and become more relied upon.  I am also still supportive of our current means of energy production as well.  As with everything, my primary goal is that any source of energy we develop and deploy I want the engineering, production and development to be done in the USA - be that fossil fuels or renewables.

Speaking of oil, I have always loved the EIA website and always happy to share data they have.

So I'm not sure what this means exactly; as seen on this chart below US crude oil consumption has remained consistent (which EIA uses "product supplied" to represent U.S. petroleum consumption).  On one hand, I think that is a good thing that as our economy has grown and needs for oil would have increased instead the annual consumption number has remained rather consistent - it hasn't increased much.  Then on the other hand, it hasn't decreased either.  I wonder absent of some of the renewable energy alternatives that have come online, maybe our oil consumption would've instead increased rather than staying flat?  There have probably been research and discussion on that is outside what I an exposed to.

As Robertdee says, in 2019 the US consumed 20,543,xxx barrels of oil per day.  In 2007 it was 20,680,xxx.  Our peak consumption was 2005 at 20,802,xxx.  Between there we saw some dips due to recession, but the last 15 years our oil consumption has been pretty flat and I'm not sure if that is to be viewed as a good thing or bad thing. As I said...the fact it hasn't increased over that period could be viewed as good, but an environmentalist might find the same consumption over the last 15 years as discouraging.

 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=33&t=6

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTUPUS2&f=A

 

chart
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Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2021 9:09 am
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

There have now been 30 executive orders to date I believe.  Some aren't much to talk about, others are.

It's quite the flurry of executive action, which is what our dysfunctional government has turned into.  Congress has deferred more and more responsibility to the President and the foundation has been laid by predecessors, for governance by executive action.  We say we don't want a king, but sometimes it really does seem like one person can impose his will - I guess that is what our country wants.

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Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2021 9:18 am
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Was just reading Bill Gates's take on climate change. Gates see coal continuing since we have so much in the ground here in America. Gates said R & D carbon capture technology should be heavily funded so we can use coal and other fossil fuels and no CO2 gets in the air. 

United Airlines is providing 100 million toward carbon capture R & D so the CO2 their jets emit can be sucked out of the atmosphere.  

 

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Posted : January 24, 2021 9:23 am
Sang liked
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Yes both parties complain about executive overreach with executive orders.  President Obama stepped them up because Congress would not act. And as we saw with President Trump,  executive orders at the stroke of a pen can be erased. Keystone XL pipeline canceled by Obama and reversed by Trump now canceled again by Biden leaving labor unions, the companies involved, Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau angry. 

And I noticed three different Republicans on the Sunday interview shows slam Biden for pulling the rug out from everybody with no warning and no opportunity for Prime Minister Trudeau to make his case. Then they blasted Biden for this unfortunate decision that is killing over 11,000 good paying jobs and killing 1 billion 600 thousand of salaries and benefits right in the middle of a pandemic just so he can get a high five from the far left liberals and environmental extremists.  

Now I don't know what to make of this action that Senator Tom Cotton says will have a ripple effect on many other jobs too and this and putting a moratorium on oil and gas leases on public lands plus tighter methane emissions on fracking on private lands will drive up prices at the pump and damage people who are laid off during the pandemic who need to drive their cars. Climate change needs to be addressed but in a well reasoned way. 

Lastly executive orders evaporate when the President changes his mind or is replaced. A more permanent solution is congressional legislation.  Laws are more difficult to revoke. But why has congress reluctant to pass certain laws? Don't want to go on the record then have their next election opponent hit them over the head with it as happened to many in congress who voted for the Iraq war?

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Posted : January 24, 2021 1:53 pm
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

But Biden did warn of his intentions on the campaign trail.  Now, I think it is probably fair to critique and say that evaluating the changes to the project and lack of consultation with Trudeau made for a prejudged decision.  But this was all known, mainstream and more left Democrats are not going to ok Keystone XL.  I think it would have certainly looked better had he spoken with Trudeau first...as Trudeau was going to be his first foreign leader call and if he wanted to cancel Keystone XL doing so a day or two later than he did could've created a more "fair" appearance after allowing Trudeau to state his case...assuming Trudeau is going to have a better perspective than just an oil industry lobby group would.

At any rate, this is perhaps the least surprising thing that President Biden has done.

Reinstate methane regulations - that is good.

Canceling all permits for oil and gas on federal lands, I think that is not so good.  To me, a right leaning independent, I think that canceling Keystone XL, reinstating CAFE MPG, reinstating methane regulations AND then keeping and allowing oil and gas leases on SOME, if not all, but SOME federal lands would be an appropriate course.  Kind of a meeting in the middle.  But this is not the modern Democrat party.  A guy like Hickenlooper has been criticized for being too friendly to the oil and gas industry.  You just can't show any favor to oil and gas industries in the current Democratic party, and I think that lack of balance is bad for our energy portfolio.  I'm not saying drill baby drill, I'm saying let's do it all better and with all of Biden's energy related actions, I think the ban of federal oil and gas drilling goes a step too far.

Now, I don't have the numbers handy, but they had an oil and gas ban on federal land during the Obama years as well...and our oil and gas production surged even during those year, in spite of federal government policy, not because of it.  So ultimately I can't say off the top of my head just how big of an impact this could be.  On the surface, I think we should use our resources for our needs instead of importing the resources we need.  I'll leave it there for now.

Why do we and does Congress accept more power and rule by the executive branch?  Like you said robertdee, sometimes they do not want to go on record on these issues because doing so is dangerous for their political careers, which is a shame.  We know generally how the ones of the farther left and right side of the aisle are going to vote, these weak kneed Ds and Rs on either side closer to the middle need to think for themselves, or for their constituents and not worry about what their party wants them to do and what will help their reelection efforts.  Definitely the Iraq War has made people afraid of making the "wrong" decision.  The Patriot Act.  NAFTA votes.  If is wrong to do it, then get some spine and don't cave in to what your party wants, or what the media pedals as the safe vote, take a stand and vote your conscious.

But even before they can vote, the bills have to be introduced.  Both sides block the bills they don't want.  We get filibusters and the only way and Administration believes they can move the ball is by executive orders and everyone is all just programmed to accept it and it just lets Congress off the hook for all but the most complicated tasks that can't be achieved by EO.  So it really makes Congress more dysfunctional because more work gets taken off their plate, guess they like it that way too.

 

Edit - I was wrong to use the word "ban" or "cancel" in referring to oil and gas leases on federal land. It is a 60 day suspension of new permits.  Although, I think most in the industry are pessimistic what the future will hold after that.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-administration-suspends-new-oil-gas-drilling-permits-on-federal-land-01611276375

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Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2021 11:59 pm
robertdee
(@robertdee)
Extreme Peach

Yes just heard on the news Prime Minister Trudeau spoke with Biden over the weekend and he gave Biden an earful.  That is fine. Presidents of the United States are not King's or dictators so they need to get an earful from time to time. 

President Reagan said he told this joke to Chairman Gorbachev and he laughed. 

An American and Russian were having a beer in an Irish pub and began arguing which country had the best system. The American said " In my country I can go into the White House, bang my fist on Reagan's desk and say President Reagan I DONT LIKE HOW YOU ARE RUNNING YOUR COUNTRY!!!." The Russian said " I can do that!" The American then said "You can?!" And the Russian continued " Yes I can go into the Kremlin and bang my fist on Chairman Gorbachev's desk and yell "CHAIRMAN GORBACHEV.  I DONT LIKE THE WAY RONALD REAGAN IS RUNNING HIS COUNTRY!!!!!"

This post was modified 1 month ago by robertdee
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Posted : January 25, 2021 10:26 am
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