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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline 301

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-bad dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that pressure on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased on Friday after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting proponents of the project. The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for Obama to approve the politically divisive project as it appears to indicate that the project could pass the criteria Obama set forth in a speech last summer when he said he would approve the 1,700-mile pipeline if it would not 'significantly exacerbate' the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. The oil industry applauded the review. 'After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment,' says Cindy Schild, the senior manager of refining and oil sands programs at the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry. Environmentalists say they are dismayed at some of the report's conclusions and disputed its objectivity, and add that the report also offers Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. The report concludes that the process used for producing the oil — by extracting what are called tar sands or oil sands from the Alberta forest — creates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil (PDF). But the report concludes that this heavily polluting oil will still be brought to market. Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail. 'At the end of the day, there's a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,' says Robert McNally. 'It's less important than I think it was perceived to be a year ago, both politically and on oil markets.'"
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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

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  • by khallow (566160) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:21PM (#46135223)

    They claim it is to be able to push it to the refineries, but if that was true, why not build some refineries on or near the USA / Canadian boarder?

    Because there are huge regulatory obstacles to building refineries. In the US there have only been a small handful of refineries built in the past few decades since the advent of the EPA. According to here [eia.gov] there have been 15 refineries built in the US since the EPA was founded in 1970 and a total of 143 in existence. Two small new refineries in North Dakota are under construction.

    Glancing at the Wikipedia page on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it's expected to have a maximum flow of around 600k barrels per day. In comparison, the US consumes somewhat shy [eia.gov] of 40 million barrels of various petroleum products per day.

    Even if that oil was refined, the resulting products would still need to be moved to where they'll be consumed.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:21PM (#46135225)

    You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right? You clearly do, since you say as much at the end of your post. So why are you talking as if anyone is concerned about free carbon particles floating around? We all know we're talking about CO2.

  • Re:False premisis (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:07PM (#46135477) Journal

    You lose the advantage of having the environmental impact of a single pipeline that is easy to monitor and the safest relative way to transport oil. Your instead replacing it with shipping through another pipeline to a port where it will be placed on ships and sent overseas. The most likely place to ship it to is China and you can rest assured they won't be worrying about environmental impact reports.

    You fundamentally misunderstand: The refined petroleum products are going to China anyways.
    The only question is whether it gets shipped through the USA and put onto boats in the Gulf of Mexico,
    or if Canada has to build a pipeline across their own country and ship it from their own coast.

    A Senator asked the President of TransCanada (the company in charge of Keystone XL) if he would require his clients to keep all the refined products in the USA and was unequivocally told no.
    http://boldnebraska.org/markey-exports [boldnebraska.org]

    Previously, then-Representative Markey challenged TransCanada on this question at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on December 2, 2011. There he asked Alexander Pourbaix, TransCanada's President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, whether he would commit to including a requirement in TransCanada's long-term contracts with Gulf Coast refineries, as a condition of shipping, that all refined fuels produced from oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline be sold in the United States. In response, Mr. Pourbaix stated "no, I can't do that."

    Even worse for the USA, Keystone will act like a giant straw to siphon out oil from the mid-west, causing their local prices to rise.
    The biggest joke is that Keystone XL creates ~35 full time jobs once it is done [livescience.com]
    Keystone XL is not a winner for the United States, unless you own a oil refinery.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:27PM (#46135833) Journal

    Those oils sands are already being dug up and processed, and the market is not going to let anything get in the way of that.

    Specifically, US regulators have no business getting in the way of that, because it's in Canada. Obama can't do anything to stop that.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:35PM (#46136157) Journal

    that carbon per se is a pollutant we need to worry about today. Which is both stupid and wrong.

    If you don't accept the science on AGW (and we all know you don't) then of course carbon is not a harmful pollutant in your eyes, but it's still a pollutant using the literal meaning of the word as in "I don't pollute my scotch with water". The reason the anti-science mob that feed you this information keep repeating the (stupid and wrong) mantra "CO2 is not a pollution" is that "pollution" has a very specific definition in US law, one that they do not want applied to their own activities.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion but don't expect people to accept to remain quiet when it violently disagrees with rigorous scientific enquiry. Same thing when you redefine the word "pollution" without actually stating what the new definition is. That particular debating method is known as the "Humpty Dumpty defence" and is considered disingenuous and childish by intellectually honest adults.

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