SEARCH

Entries in Climate Change (3)

Friday
Mar012013

Keystone XL Pipeline Does Little Environmental Harm, US Finds

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Friday moved one step closer to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, concluding in a draft environmental impact statement that the project would not accelerate global greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the natural habitats along its route.

The report, done by the State Department, suggests that the proposed 875-mile pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, has cleared a significant hurdle on its way to President Obama’s desk for final consideration.

“The approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including this proposed project, really remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of development of the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil in the U.S.,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The State Department, which conducted the study because the pipeline would cross an international boundary, also suggested in a voluminous report that impacts on air, water and landscape would be minimal.

The agency found it “very unlikely” that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed.  It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, “these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater.”

Government analysts found that Keystone XL would each year produce the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 620,000 passenger cars operating for a year. But they concluded that whether or not the pipeline is approved, those emissions would still  likely occur because of fuels produced and obtained from other sources.

The release of the draft report reignited debate over climate change and President Obama’s pledge to do something about it.

Environmental activists have been lobbying Obama hard to block the plan — some recently chaining themselves to the White House fence in protest. Many environmental groups see rejection of the pipeline as a litmus test for whether Obama intends to fulfill his pledge from the second inaugural.

“It seems like Secretary Kerry and the State Department missed President Obama’s State of the Union and inaugural address,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth.  “The draft SEIS reads like an on-ramp to justify the Keystone XL pipeline project. We cannot solve the climate crisis when the State Department fails to understand the basic climate, environmental and economic impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Pica and other environmental advocates have called the pipeline a “carbon bomb,” increasing the use of tar sands oil, which is one of the dirtiest to produce and transport.

The oil industry, some members of Congress, and the nation’s major labor unions, which stand to gain construction jobs with the pipeline’s approval, all welcomed the news.

“No matter how many times KXL is reviewed, the result is the same: no significant environmental impact,” said Marty Durbin of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry lobby.

“The latest impact statement from the State Department puts this important, job-creating project one step closer to reality,” he said. “The last approval needed is by President Obama, and we urge him to do so as soon as possible.”

Canada, which has long lobbied the U.S. for approval of the deal, also hailed the State Department’s report as a step forward.

“The Keystone XL pipeline will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border,” said Canadian natural resources minister Joe Oliver.

In 2011, the Obama administration came close to approving an earlier version of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have stretched from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. The deal was tabled after a dispute over the portion of the route through Nebraska, though officials later green-lighted construction of the southern portion of the pipeline.

Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota have now all signed-off on the pipeline plan and their governors and congressional delegations have been calling on Obama to follow suit.

One potential wild card:  new Secretary of State John Kerry, a longtime advocate of action to combat climate change.  He will play an influential role in finalizing the department’s review and recommendation before presenting it to Obama, who has said he’ll make the final call.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug292011

Rick Perry Picks Up Endorsement of Sen. Jim Inhofe, Climate Change Skeptic

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(TULSA, Okla.) -- Gov. Rick Perry's most recent endorsement came Monday from Sen. Jim Inhofe, a fellow climate change skeptic, who said the Texas governor is the strongest Republican to challenge President Obama in 2012.

"I've known Gov. Rick Perry for a long time, and I am endorsing him because I know he is the strongest leader to run against and defeat President Obama. After three years of Obama's liberal agenda, Rick Perry is the right person to get America working again and turn our country in the right direction," Sen. Inhofe said in Tulsa, Okla., Monday. "We can't afford four more years of the Obama malaise. Look at what Rick Perry has done in his state. He is going to be a great president!"

Inhofe shares in Perry's skepticism regarding climate change, having repeatedly called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." He has argued the globe is moving into a "cooling period," a theory Perry supported in his book Fed Up!

"He won't cave in to the extreme environmental activists or the Hollywood crowd and their liberal agenda," Inhofe said of Perry.

When Washington, D.C., was buried under snow in the winter of 2010, Inhofe and his family built an igloo with signs jokingly calling it Al Gore's new home.

"If, in fact, global warming is taking place, it's kind of hard on a day like today and the last few days to be talking about global warming," Inhofe said on the Senate floor in February 2010. "I often say, where is it when you need it?"

In the opening week of his campaign, Perry labeled global warming as being "politicized," arguing that scientists "have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects." Perry's criticism of climate change theorists drew fire from fellow Republicans.

Last week, Vice President Al Gore condemned climate change skeptics' attempts to discredit the work of scientists by tying their projects to money.

"This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money," Gore said in an online interview last week.

"These scientists don't make a lot of money," Gore said. "They are comfortable, as they should be, but they don't make a lot of money. That is not their motivation for doing what they do."

Gore also warned that doubters of climate change will ultimately be judged in the same way as those who previously espoused racist views.

"There came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, 'Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don't go for that so don't talk that way around me. I just don't believe that.' That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won," Gore said. "And we have to win the conversation on climate."

In his book Fed Up! Perry called Gore a "false prophet of a secular carbon cult."

"Gore found something more satiating to his ego than the presidency. He found a global cause, and he became the prophet who could protect us from Armageddon. Soon he took his PowerPoint presentation around the globe, raising concerns about melting icebergs and undersized polar bears," Perry wrote. "The Left embraced him like never before. Hollywood toasted him as their hero. The Nobel Committee gave him a peace prize. He won an Oscar. And it's all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan242011

White House Climate Change Czar Carol Browner Departing

Photo Courtesy - Change dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senior administration officials confirm reports that Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change, is departing the White House in the next few weeks.

A White House official says Browner will stay on as long as necessary to ensure an orderly transition.

"Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president and she is pleased with what will be in the State of the Union address tomorrow and in the budget on clean energy," the official said Monday. "She is proud of the administration’s accomplishments -- from the historic investments in clean energy included in the Recovery Act to the national policy on vehicle efficiency that will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and lower consumers’ prices at the pump."

That said, it's unclear that Browner will be replaced. When Democrats controlled the House and Senate, they were unable to pass major energy legislation addressing climate change, and now that Republicans control the House and Senate, Democrats have an even narrower margin.

"On the question of what will happen to the position, the president’s commitment to these issues will, of course, continue but any transition of the office will be announced soon," the official said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio