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May 15, 2014

import the sweet, export the crude

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 12:00 a.m.
import the sweet, export the crude

On Tuesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that some of the surging production from domestic shale plays such as the Bakken in North Dakota isn’t suited for U.S. refineries. That could indicate the administration is willing to consider exports of lighter-grade oil from areas such as the Bakken, even as it continues to import heavier grades of crude for processing at U.S. refineries. - Loren Steffy

This "export the junk, import the good stuff" model works really well for the US. We offload our computer garbage to China, whose hand-pickers bring down the wrath of exponential cell growth on themselves (if they manage to avoid poisoning themselves with the heavy metals in our low-end garbage computers), and whose government imposes the burden of heavy metal particulate in the air on everyone in the name of endless economic growth. In return we get…the heavy metals back in elegant laptop chassis form. Or, take the biodiesel tankers plying between Brazil and the States - they ship us their top-grade biodiesel, and we ship them our not-quite-top-grade biodiesel.

Imagine: whole oil tankers passing each other in the night containing more or less the exact same stuff, but the EPA claims the stuff we're shipping to the "developing world" is just so nasty and pollutive. Solution? Ship it to the brown people, who in turn will ship us their fancy, low-pollution biodiesels! Our government agents convince themselves they're doing good in the world by reducing pollution, and the developing world gets cheap "oil". Awesome!

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