Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Klatchers find resolutions to today’s problems

Once the caffeine finally kicks in, my coffee klatch at Cappucino on Collins has been noted to resolve many of the problems in the world today. The upside of these discussions is that the caffeine usually wears off before we try to implement any of our solutions.

This is a good thing because some of the solutions get rather draconian, you know like drop a bomb, outlaw this, punish that, toss the baby out with the bath water, they shuda done this, they shudna done that, etc.

I’m left to wonder how many coffee klatch chats actually lead us into action. For instance, let’s take the Keystone pipeline that’s been making the news as well as local coffee klatches lately. This is a proposed pipeline that would bring crude oil from Saskatchewan to refineries along the gulf coast of Texas. Its proponents tout the number of jobs a pipeline that crosses the North American continent would create during its construction. The detail here is temporariness of the estimate two-plus years of construction… after the line is done it just gets monitored and maintained by a few hundred folks.

Since the pipeline won’t go through North Dakota during its construction we klatchers wondering how it will benefit us. We’re told that the Bakken oil would tie into the pipeline somewhere and that would save roads and such in North Dakota… which is a good thing.

We’re also told that if the pipeline isn’t built, Canada will just build a pipeline to the west coast and ship its tar sand oil to China. The part that we don’t hear much about is how come folks are worried about this pipeline? From what we klatchers can tell it has something to do with the pollution involved in extracting Canadian oil from tar sand as well as the potential of dumping massive amounts of crude oil into the Ogallala aquifer. There isn’t any question about the waste the tar sands create… it’s pretty bad. The aquifer issue seems solvable by moving the line but the tar sands… not so much.

So we Cappuccino on Collins klatchers have discussed, chattered, even read up a bit on this issue and when we return to this issue we always seem to get stumped at one point… like where will all this oil go once it’s refined?

Will you and I see a reduced price at our pump or will this oil be exported? So far the answer seems to indicate that most of this oil is likely to be exported. So what is the great benefit to you and me?

It’s obviously a great benefit to the oil companies, but you and me? Not so much. The confusing part here is that we have been told that we import too much oil and the facts are that oil has become one of our largest exports. That fact doesn’t seem to jive well with those of us who are forced to pay for all this at the gas pump, nor does it say much about the lives we’ve sacrificed in the Mideast whilst we pursued the goal of “energy independence.” We all know that oil can be a slippery business sometimes… so we were just wondering…

If you got an answer to this question come on down to Cappuccino on Collins because we klatchers would like to hear it…

Here’s hoping that your klatches have more answers than questions.