Why I listen to NPR, part 8
This morning NPR covered
the Conoco shipment mess that I've been watching.
The local media has given the idea that all local residents
are hippie-ass shitheads who want their own precious little esthetic tastes to impoverish everyone. (Of course the local media doesn't call them hippie-ass shitheads; it calls them noble heroic angels, living saints who must preserve our delicate fragile ecological heritage for our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.)
NPR gave a more balanced picture, interviewing people along the "megaload" route who understand reality and welcome the loads.
Using Canadian oil production as the story pivot, NPR also discussed a proposed pipeline from Alberta oilfields all the way down to refineries and shipping ports in the Houston area. This pipeline is running into NIMBY opposition all along its route.
NPR missed the other common theme, though. In both cases the "offensive" shipments and pipelines are only needed because of modern centralization, modularization and commodification.
The "megaloads" wouldn't be needed if Conoco and others returned to the way they operated before 1980: make all the parts on-site. Instead, the corporations are stuck with a procedure that puts nearly all the labor in Japan and Korea, making huge almost-finished modules that require wildly complicated trans-Pacific shipping.
And the long north-south pipeline wouldn't be needed if the oil companies put more refineries closer to the source, as they did before 1980. Those refineries could then ship finished and profitable products over much shorter distances. It also wouldn't be needed if we had enough goddamn common sense to keep our own goddamn oil instead of treasonously sending it to our enemies in goddamn China.
Of course the more distributed supply chain would still run into NIMBY problems, but it would distribute the local benefits more widely
, which tends to knock down NIMBY attitudes. When your back yard has jobs and money, you'll tolerate a bit more change in its visual aspect.