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Dusty Still Dreaming of Dead Pipeline; Renewable Energy Will Yield Real Independence

So much muddle-headed thinking, so little time…
So much muddle-headed thinking, so little time… photo by CAH, 2022.03.01.

Representative Dusty Johnson is falling with the more knuckleheaded members of his party, signing on to the “American Energy Independence from Russia Act”, which pretends that approving Keystone XL and doubling down on other fossil fuel projects will solve any problems:

Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) cosponsored the American Energy Independence from Russia Act which immediately approves the Keystone XL Pipeline, resumes permitting of energy and mineral development on Federal lands and waters, and boosts natural gas production in the U.S. The bill would also require President Biden to develop an energy security plan within 30 days to offset any disruption of Russian imports.

“President Biden has the opportunity to right wrongs and undo the damage his administration has done to America’s energy independence,” said Johnson. “On the first day of his term, President Biden cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline – the American Energy Independence from Russia Act will bring this back. The events happening in Ukraine and Russia’s unwarranted aggression is a reminder to us all: America shouldn’t rely on foreign adversaries for oil and gas” [Rep. Dusty Johnson, press release, 2022.03.04].

Congressman Johnson is amplifying some anti-Biden propaganda from Republican governors claiming that we need to reverse President Biden’s energy policies to “restore America’s energy independence for our citizens as well as our allies abroad.” Including re-approving Keystone XL in this proposed “reversal” is silly for multiple reasons:

  1. Keystone XL was designed to export Canadian oil to China. China is not an ally.
  2. Existing U.S. pipelines are half-empty, so we don’t need Keystone XL to carry more oil.
  3. Transcanada TC Energy pulled the plug on Keystone XL months ago. Even if Congress forced the President to re-approve Keystone XL today, the company would have to restart eminent domain proceedings (forcing American landowners to surrender their property rights to a foreign entity—what was that you were saying about Freedom Over Tyranny?), raise billions of dollars, and probably order more steel pipe, since the original pipe is old and up for sale as scrap.

The broader premise of Johnson’s bill, that we can achieve energy independence by investing more in fossil fuels, is even sillier. Real, lasting energy independence would come from accelerating President Biden’s policies and getting ourselves off fossil fuels for good. Radical Republican candidate for District 31 House Ronald J. Moeller hears me say that and bleats back non-sequiturially, “Democrats are a suicide cult.” But suicide is clinging to energy sources that we know will run out instead of dedicating our brains and bucks to building an energy grid that runs entirely on wind, sunshine, the Earth’s heat, tidal forces, and, ultimately, fusion. Suicide is burning even more of the fossil fuels that are driving destructive climate change instead of throttling those carbon emissions and developing cleaner energy. Far from killing our economy, developing renewable energy guarantees our energy independence forever. It would drop a permanent ceiling on oil prices of maybe $20 a barrel, leaving Putin and other petro-tyrants broke. Developing renewable energy not only is not suicide; it stops homicidal maniacs like Putin in their oily tracks.

Besides, President Biden isn’t even standing in the way of fossil fuels. He’s said we need to rely on fossil fuels while we develop more renewable energy capacity. He’s issued more oil drilling permits in the past year than Trump’s yearly pace. Instead of fighting President Biden with ideas that don’t work, Republicans should try one-upping him. Keystone XL is gone, and it’s not coming back. Someday soon, we’ll be saying the same thing about affordably extractable oil.


  1. Loren 2022-03-05

    Dusty is nothing more than a tool, spouting the RepubliQan mantra of, “Take us back to the past where we were comfortable.” Any ideas for the future, Dusty, or just a longing for the past? When you are out of ideas, just blame Biden. How quaint… !@#$%^&*

  2. larry kurtz 2022-03-05

    Gotta have gas if you expect to gaslight voters, init?

    Mr. Johnson would back eminent domain for any foreign interest but squeal like a pig if President Joe Biden wanted to nationalize the railbed Mrs. Noem just sold to Watco.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-03-05

    Dusty should be smart enough to know that the Keystone Pipeline will not be built. It’s a campaign gimmick to fool the death cult and a way to raise funds from the oil billionaires. No one really believes we should spend another dime on 20th century technology like pipelines that are subject to terrorist attack and international disruption. The future is decentralized power: wind and solar.

    Dusty had an opportunity to help build out real energy infrastructure, but he bungled that. Under Dusty’s watch, South Dakota could have become the Russia of Wind and Solar Power, but the oil and coal lobby has their hooks into the Republican Party. As a result we lost out to China as a leader in the 21st Century energy leader.

    I’ve been seeing lots of similar nonsense from the nuclear industry and the uranium miners in the wake of Putin’s war. They all have their hands out for special privileges and socialist money, and I expect Dusty will be joining the bi-partisan rush to provide giant welfare checks to the nuke industry, which will then return the favor with campaign donations.

    Hey, it’s all a big con.

  4. jerry 2022-03-05

    Dirty only cares about the money. He votes against veterans over and over. Now he is up in arms about making the VA more user friendly. Dirty is a Putin puppet.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-03-05

    Naming a dark matter lab 5000 feet below Lead after a lecherous, usurious Republican billionaire sticks in plenty of craws in South Dakota yet real science is getting done there. The Homestake Mine represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region. New Mexico’s Sandia Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, South Dakota School of Mines and others are collaborating on exploring that limitless potential.

    Billboards along I-25 in New Mexico warn drivers of so-called chemtrail activity.

    Remember the flap when Midland was purportedly losing out because KXL wasn’t being built? RESPEC would have far more respect if it promoted the geothermal aspects of deep borehole experiments in Haakon County.

  6. O 2022-03-05

    By all means, let’s follow policies that have us double-down on perpetuating the world-wide oil economy. Whether it is the Middle-East, Russia, or China, promoting an oil-economy literally fuels our rivals (or outright enemies) to fund being bad actors.

    The only true way to become energy independent is to be come independent of fossil fuel energy as a source period.

  7. mike from iowa 2022-03-05

    Freedom for Trannies the sign should say because that is more important than promoting a pipeline that will not be operable for any number of years and will carry dilbit, of which little is refined for use in America.

  8. Edwin Arndt 2022-03-05

    Wind and solar are not going to do it until we get the proper
    battery technology. If we can do that everything else will
    fall into place.

  9. 96Tears 2022-03-05

    Dusty and his Party of Trump are working hard to continue Trump’s treason by dividing Americans at this time of crisis with dumb ideas like his latest release. Only two agendas benefit from Dusty’s treasonous baloney: Donald Trump’s attempts to snatch the American Presidency and Vlad Putin’s decision to snatch Ukraine by violence. Beyond all the reasons Cory cited above, Dusty is talking only about a long term fairy tale. But, Dusty, what about next week when gas prices jump up?

    If you had more than half a brain and a spine, Dusty, you’d stand up with South Dakota Farmers Union and corn farmers throughout the United States and demand to blend all gasoline sold in our nation be a blend of 30 percent ethanol. Within months, we can ramp up the blends to 30 percent. Think of all those new ethanol plants going up in South Dakota. Farmers will get a boost in prices. This can start now, Dusty. Not a year or two from now, which is your plan.

    Yes, the carbon footprint of ethanol is a bit of a setback, but not nearly as bad refining sludge from Canada to pollute our waters and air to send Red China more oil. Try standing up for South Dakota, you worm, and stand up with South Dakota Farmers Union.

  10. O 2022-03-05

    Edwin, I think I would have a chicken-and-egg discussion with you. That big oil continues to pay their way into the policy decisions of legislators like Dusty (and MANY others on both sides of the aisle), the real impetus for renewable technology lags. If we had been serious about energy independence back during Carter (when we really was that OPEC had the US literally over a barrel, we would be where we needed to be now with production and storage.

  11. Richard Schriever 2022-03-05

    Edwin, Edwin, Edwin, Do you know what a hydraulic battery is? South Dakota has several of them within our borders. They each can store quadrillions of gigawatts of energy. When there is more wind and solar being generated to what is immediately needed, their output can easily be diverted to maintaining the charge on these hydraulic batteries.

  12. jerry 2022-03-05

    American GOP Dependence on Russian Energy Money or how to sell out the country for my pocket, is what Dirty is blathering about. Dirty is just like Thune and the Dirty 6 who went to Russia to kiss Putin’s arse on July 4, 2018. Here is Richard Shelby of Alabama on the pity me platform. Why do republicans hate America? Did America hurt their feelings for being men of privilege’s?

    “And yet, there was Alabama’s Richard Shelby, traveling to Moscow and signaling weakness, reluctant to make accusations about “this or that or so forth.”

    In the recent past, Republicans saw Russia as an adversary, convinced of the need to show strength. That was before it became Donald Trump’s party.”

    Never, ever let these fascist barstards forget the treasonous visit to bend their knees to putin. Thune is a disgrace to Murdo along with the rest of the state.

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-03-05

    Hey everyone, Republicans see this as a win, win. Ban Russian oil and raise the price of oil even higher. They get to criticize Biden more than Putin. They love Putin, it won’t be long before they side with him as many in their party do now. They want to gain power. If you think they care about anything but power your naive.

  14. Edwin Arndt 2022-03-05

    Richard, I do not know what a hydraulic battery is. Please educate me and many others.
    If this works, why aren’t we doing it know?

  15. Edwin Arndt 2022-03-05

    Richard, I do not know what a hydraulic battery is. Please educate me and many others.
    If this works, why aren’t we doing it now?

  16. jerry 2022-03-05

    Cut the deal with Venezuela that will end the sanctions that will expire soon. Talk about poking putin in the eyeball socket, this would be the corker. Citgo was a good company and I liked the billboard at Fenway Park in Boston. Go Red Sox!!…. when the strike ends.

  17. larry kurtz 2022-03-05

    Utilities are not your friends.

    In 2021 a study at Michigan Technological University revealed that far more work is needed to ensure the owners of self-generated electricity systems are not unjustly subsidizing electric utilities.

    Albuquerque enjoys an annual average of 310 days of sunshine while Rapid City in my home state of South Dakota gets about 230 days of sun. Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) pays .0025¢ (1/4 cent) per kilowatt hour for renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by home photovoltaic or wind turbine systems. The net-metering rate is set by the Public Regulation Commission or PRC.

    In South Dakota the three elected Republicans on the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have taken a position opposed to net metering and the state’s Koch-soaked legislature has considered but declined to pass legislation on the issue. No corporate taxes, a compliant regulator, a dearth of environmental protection and cheap labor make South Dakota the perfect dumping ground for earth killers like coal and eyesores like wind farms. But according to Republican Commissioner Chris Nelson the amount of wind power generation may have reached its plateau. In a 2019 interview with WNAX Radio Nelson said he believes there will be rapid development of solar power production facilities instead.

    Enough rooftop solar to power a 2000 sq. ft. building can be done for around $10,000.

  18. RST Tribal Member 2022-03-05

    Let’s see our Dusty wants to merge District of Colombia with the state of Maryland instead of creating another state. Who in God loving South Dakota put that nut job idea in our Dusty’s inept inbred republican brain?

    Now our Dusty for political or financial reasons wants to send Canada tar sand to China then to Putin using a pipeline that old 45 let get built in record time without the benefits of the laws congress put into place to protect all humans, all non-humans and the earth.

    Of course our dust maker will get re-elected unless a good independent candidate signs up. The challenge might be easier this year as Trump’s duster is showing signs of losing the moral compass and values many hold true in South Dakota. Since the RINO Thune decided to continuing working for Mitch, if we vote him back in, dust maker had his pathway upward stalled.

    Transporting anything but water through a underground steel pipe is not looked at favorably post 45. I heard everything now as a bunch of fool investors will want to pipe cow burps and farts somewhere in a pipe. Hopefully SD will think twice about that as a leak will stink to high heaven like a confined yard.

  19. jerry 2022-03-05

    Very good link Mr. Kurtz. The PUC is a job killing hatchet man for the greed of the power company.

  20. larry kurtz 2022-03-05

    Thanks Jerry. Commandeering the SDPUC would be a political coup for the South Dakota Democratic Party.

  21. Richard Schriever 2022-03-06

    Edwin, the Missouri river reservoirs are gigantic examples of a hydraulic battery. Hydraulic energy storage is quite common all over the world. In Canada for example, excess energy produced by non-hydraulic sources is used to pump water from Lake Superior into reservoirs above the lake on the North side of it. When energy demand exceeds the ability of the non-hydraulic means of production that water is released back into Lake Superior through turbines. There is a reason Canadians called their power utilities “The Hydro”.

    In Germany, series of holding ponds or reservoirs (small lakes in reality) are built on hillsides near wind turbines. When there is excess wind energy being produced, it is used to pump water up from the bottom pond(s), or a river or lake to the top ponds. When there is not sufficient wind energy to provide enough power to meet demand, that water is released through turbines to the lower levels/river/lake. There are even some wind turbines that have reservoirs inside their towers with turbines at the bottom.

    As to why “we” aren’t doing this – Answer these question and you’ll have the answer. How many times will you need to buy a new metallic/chemical battery when it “wears out”? How many millions of those batteries will need to be continually built and replaced for a lifetime? Compare that to how long a simple dam will last.

  22. Edwin Arndt 2022-03-06

    Richard, John, this is the first I’ve heard of this technology, and I don’t live under a rock.
    In certain situations it might work. I’m all for things that work.
    As for metallic/chemical batteries, a lot of people are asking that question
    about the batteries used in electric cars. I do suspect that eventually
    the battery problem will be solved, but it may take a long time.

  23. Donald Pay 2022-03-06

    Dusty didn’t say much when oil imports from Russia increased during the Trump Administration. Oil imports from Russia decreased from a high during the Bush II Administration all through the Obama Administration, but increased under Trump. Still, Russian oil is a tiny part of the US energy budget. If you want energy independence, the best way is to shut off exports of US oil, but that might hurt our European allies at this time. It makes no sense to build the Keystone Pipeline, which is meant to take Canadian oil to be exported to China. Keep that oil in the Northern Hemisphere.

  24. larry kurtz 2022-03-06

    Because the State of New Mexico prohibits the direct sale of automobiles from manufacturer to the end user Tesla opened a dealership on the Nambe Pueblo, a sovereign nation.

    Searching the media in Jackson Hole for reviews of Mrs. Noem’s incursion there a story that has Republicans crying to defund the police in Crested Butte, Colorado after officials began adding Teslas to their fleet.

  25. jerry 2022-03-06

    Dirty wanted to be with the other Putin senators visiting Russia on our Independence Day. Instead, Thune gave him a booby prize called the Red Sparrow. Poor Dirty, now he is doing all he can so he can work on his Putin lapdog side gig. Meanwhile, the Red Sparrow is doing her best trump impression for show and tell.

  26. jerry 2022-03-06

    Finish cutting the deal with Venezuela. This could help hold us until we get our crap together with solar power.

  27. jerry 2022-03-06

    We should be doing the same John.

  28. Richard Schriever 2022-03-07

    Edwin – “certain situations” = anywhere there is a hillside or a ravine and electrical connections to power a pump, OR anywhere there is a wind turbine tower (internal tank application).

  29. Edwin Arndt 2022-03-07

    Richard, anywhere there is a hillside, or a ravine, and a lot of
    water. Those things don’t often fall together in the same place.
    I also wonder if it is financially feasible. The cost of the pumps,
    the cost of the generator etc. And how many hours a day
    would it have to run to make the finances work? I suspect
    the potential workable applications are somewhat limited.
    Please understand that if it works I’m all for this program.
    But there are a lot of questions that have to be addressed.

  30. John Dale 2022-03-08

    We could sell VAR components to other huge polluters like China while not disrupting our own energy supply chain.

    If the technology proves-out economy and real ROI, let’s talk adoption.

    That’s conservative.

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