Entries in Keystone XL Pipeline (3)


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


GOP Address: Sen. John Hoeven Offers the Keystone XL Pipeline Project to Help Avoid Sequestration

Office of Senator John Hoeven(WASHINGTON) -- In this week’s Republican address, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven calls for the president to work with Republicans in Congress to avoid sequestration and advises the president to consider the Keystone XL pipeline project.

“The fact is: Republicans in Congress, right now, will provide the flexibility to make the necessary spending reductions and address our deficit and debt, instead of going through the sequester,” Hoeven said. “The right way to address our deficit and debt, and get past the sequester, is not higher taxes or just better spending control. It’s by creating jobs, growing the economy, and expanding the tax base.”

Hoeven recommends to the president to support building the Keystone XL pipeline, which the president did not mention in his State of the Union address. Hoeven adds that the construction of the pipeline would “create tens of thousands of jobs, lift the economy help to keep down the cost of fuel, reduce our dependency on Middle Eastern oil and raise hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to address the nation’s debt and deficit – all without a single penny of taxpayer money and with better environmental stewardship than if we don’t build the project.”

Hoeven pleads, “Mr. President, if we empower our people and unleash the power of investment and innovation, we will get what all Americans agree we want and need – jobs, a dynamic economy, stable fuel prices, and a real reduction in our deficit and debt – without raising taxes. And the Keystone XL project is just one example of how we get there. There are many more.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Defends Oil Record, Orders Fast-Track Of Pipeline Permitting

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(CUSHING, Okla.) -- President Obama visited an oil repository in the solidly red state of Oklahoma on Thursday to announce plans to fast-track the southern leg of the controversial Keystone pipeline, a move intended to counter Republican criticisms that his administration is not doing enough to tackle rising gas prices.

"I am directing my Administration to cut through red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority," the president told the crowd gathered at the cold, muddy pipe yard near the starting point of the southern portion of the pipeline.

Defending his energy strategy, Obama continued to argue that his administration is receptive to domestic drilling, even if he has not given the go-ahead for the full Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

“We’re drilling all over the place, right now.  That’s not the challenge. That’s not the problem.  In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil… that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport it all where it needs to go,” he said.

Obama announced a new Executive Order that will make permitting the southern leg of the pipeline a top priority. The move also establishes a multi-agency task force to identify the most urgent projects and create a roadmap for permitting them by the end of May.

The president faced fierce pushback from Republicans after he rejected the full pipeline in January. Obama has said he refused to approve the project because Congress cut short the environmental review process.

“Our experts said that they needed a certain amount of time to review the project. Unfortunately, Congress decided to set their own timeline based on their own politics, and made it impossible for us to make an informed decision,” the president explained Thursday.

A majority of Americans think the government should approve the building of the pipeline. According to a new Gallup poll, 57 percent of the public believes the Obama administration should okay the pipeline’s construction, while 29 percent think they should not.

Republicans say the president’s latest move to expedite the southern portion of the Keystone project hypes his role in alleviating the pipeline shortage.

“The approval needed for this leg of the project is so minor and routine that only a desperate administration would inject the President of the United States into the process,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., said. “This is like the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver’s license – except this announcement still leaves American energy and jobs behind.”

Accelerating the permitting process also puts the president at odds with his environmental base.

Obama continued to argue Thursday that domestic oil production is simply one piece of the energy puzzle and "isn’t enough to bring gas prices down overnight."

Instead, Obama pitched his all-of-the-above energy production strategy, arguing that investments in alternative energy sources will ultimately ease the pain at the pump.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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