State Dept: No Reason for Obama to Block Keystone Pipeline


The Associated Press – WASHINGTON —

A new State Department report is the latest evidence that the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada should be approved, supporters say.

The draft report, issued Friday, finds there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.

The new report “again makes clear there is no reason for this critical pipeline to be blocked one more day,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. After four years of what he called “needless delays,” Boehner said it is time for President Barack Obama “to stand up for middle-class jobs and energy security and approve the Keystone pipeline.”

Environmentalists see the State Department report in a vastly different light.

They say it was inadequate and failed to account for climate risks posed by the pipeline. The report also is based on a false premise, opponents say — namely, that tar sands in western Canada will be developed for oil production regardless of whether the Keystone XL pipeline is approved.

“Americans are already suffering from the consequences of global warming, from more powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy to drought conditions currently devastating the Midwest and Southwest,” said Daniel Gatti of the group Environment America. Production of oil from Canadian tar sands could add as much as 240 billion metric tons of global warming pollution to the atmosphere, Gatti said, a potential catastrophe that would hasten the arrival of the worst effects of global warming.

Gatti and other opponents said development of the vast tar sands is far from certain, despite assurances by the project’s supporters.

“Tar sands can be stopped, and we are stopping it,” Gatti said, citing a rally in Washington last month attended by an estimated 35,000 people. Project opponents also have blocked construction in Texas and Oklahoma and have been arrested outside the White House gate.

The pipeline plan has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over climate change. Republicans and business and labor groups have urged the Obama administration to approve the project as a source of jobs and a step toward North American energy independence. Environmental groups have been pressuring the president to reject the pipeline, saying it would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.

The State Department review stopped short of recommending approval of the project, but it gave the Obama administration political cover if it chooses to endorse the pipeline in the face of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups. State Department approval of the 1,700-mile pipeline is needed because it crosses a U.S. border.

The lengthy report says Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed, regardless of whether the U.S. approves the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The report acknowledges that development of tar sands in Alberta would create greenhouse gases but makes clear that other methods of transporting the oil — including rail, trucks and barges — also pose a risk to the environment.

The State Department analysis for the first time evaluated two options using rail: shipping the oil on trains to existing pipelines or to oil tankers. The report shows that those other methods would release more greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming than the pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline, according to the report, would release annually the same amount of global warming pollution as 626,000 passenger cars.

A scenario that would move the oil on trains to mostly existing pipelines would release 8 percent more greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide than Keystone XL. That scenario would not require State Department approval because any new pipelines would not cross the U.S border.

Another alternative that relies mostly on rail to move the oil to the Canadian west coast, where it would be loaded onto oil tankers to the U.S. Gulf Coast, would result in 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.

In both alternatives, the oil would be shipped in rail cars as bitumen, a thick, tar-like substance, rather than as a liquid.

The State Department was required to conduct a new environmental analysis after the pipeline’s operator, Calgary-based TransCanada, changed the project’s route though Nebraska. The Obama administration blocked the project last year because of concerns that the original route would have jeopardized environmentally sensitive land in the Sand Hills region.

The administration later approved a southern section of the pipeline, from Cushing, Okla., to the Texas coast, as part of what Obama has called an “all of the above” energy policy that embraces a wide range of sources, from oil and gas to renewables such as wind and solar.

The draft report issued Friday begins a 45-day comment period, after which the State Department will issue a final environmental report before Secretary of State John Kerry makes a recommendation about whether the pipeline is in the national interest.

Kerry has promised a “fair and transparent” review of the plan and said he hopes to decide on the project in the “near term.” Most observers do not expect a decision until summer at the earliest.

Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said Friday that Canada will respect the U.S. review process and noted the importance of the pipeline to the Canadian economy.

Obama’s initial rejection of the pipeline last year went over badly in Canada, which relies on the United States for 97 percent of its energy exports.

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul Sabol
9 years ago

It is about time the American public realized the only thing Obama and his minions are interested in is furthering his socialist(Communist) agenda! In prior administrations, he actions would have been suspect–even traitorous. That has not changed today- we just have another left wing doofus in the State Department to delay the inevitable and damage the American economy. The same goes for the incompetant criminal Attorney General, the useless SECDEF, and a CIA director(who’s an islamist sympathizer?). With the sequestration, we have an outstanding opportunity to get rid of the TSA, reform ICE, and eliminate the illegal drain on Social Security and medicare by illegal immigrants. What a wonderful opportunity to rid the country of all the obamanisms and get the government under control the way our founders envisioned, pay down our national debt, and eliminate all the featherbedding unionists and do-nothing civil servants(?). Imagine the country back on the right track, our children’s debt paid down, and no “freebies” and government handouts. What would the economy look like with no oil debt, no national credit card debt and interest, and no IOUs in the Social Security lock box? How about if we got rid of welfare, replaced with workfare, free housing, and set a national example for responsible financial management?

9 years ago

Kerry’s confirmation should have been blocked pending Keystone approval. It’s hard to imagine a worse Secy of State than Hillary but Kerry will certainly try.

9 years ago

So once again, after receiving approvals from the State Department yet again, we’re back to waiting to see what Obama will do. Four long years of needless and unnecessary delays, all due to politics. If Obama was actually concerned about domestic economic growth and making the United States less dependent on foreign oil from nations hostile to us, which he’s not by the way, this pipeline would have been approved in his first term. Now to see what creative excuse our wonderful new Secretary of State can dream up to justify either further delays or an outright no vote on the pipeline. Sorry for the sarcasm in the last sentence.

If I were the Prime Minister of Canada, I would simply make a phone call to Obama and ask one question: “Mr. President, do you want our oil or should we simply build the pipeline west and sell it all to China?” Any response from Obama other than “Yes we want your oil and I will be approving the XL pipeline shortly” should tell the Canadians all they need to know. After all, as one of our largest trading partners, they deserve some “clarity” on this issue as well.

China is more than happy to buy up energy reserves anywhere in the world. They understand that cheap, plentiful energy is absolutely vital to any country for its continued growth and prosperity over the long-term. That’s something that apparently Obama doesn’t view as a very high priority. More Solyndra’s anyone? Better to waste valuable time and effort on tangential issues like taking away guns from its citizens “for their own good” or pushing for a backdoor to amnesty for illegals, so he can add 11 to 20 million new voters to the Democrat roles. Yeah, that will ensure that the United States remains competitive, both economically and militarily in the 21st century.

Al roach
9 years ago

China has and is purchasing Canada’s oil.
The oil going through the pipe is going to Saudi Araba’s depot , for exportation.
The United States will not receive any oil from this pipeline!!!!!!!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x