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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 Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:55PM (#46135059)

    "The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution..."

    Pretty hard to "worsen" something that doesn't exist... Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

    Funny, you don't hear anybody talking about "Oxygen Pollution", even though oxygen makes up more of CO2 than carbon does, and in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:01PM (#46135081)

      Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

      Exactly. If carbon is so bad, why are they aways trying to save all those carbon filled trees?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by fahrbot-bot (874524)

        Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

        Exactly. If carbon is so bad, why are they always trying to save all those carbon filled trees?

        I'm sure if all those trees were floating around in the upper atmosphere, they might feel differently.

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:01PM (#46135085)

      Anything is a pollutant when large quantities are somewhere they shouldn't be. Having lots of carbon in the atmosphere is bad. You can deny the science until you're blue in the face, but you're no different from the creationists.

      Mind you, I don't really care one way or the other about the pipeline.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Anything is a pollutant when large quantities are somewhere they shouldn't be."

        That doesn't justify the recent "fad" of "carbon pollution".

        I mean, your point is correct of course but scarcely relevant to this situation. The carbon in CO2 is no more a demon than the oxygen in CO2. And even if ALL the carbon in CO2 were free carbon particles in the air, it still wouldn't be very poisonous. (You might get black lung eventually, but that doesn't make it a "poison" in the conventional sense.)

        But again: even in the case of CO2 (which is what people are really referring to -- so far --

        • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

            "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."

            Sure. For now. But will it stay that way? Probably not.

            Understand something: regardless of whether climate scientists are correct about CO2-based warming, it isn't just about the science. It's also about control. The phrase "carbon pollution" is no accidental turn of phrase, and Al Gore doesn't "accidentally" own shares in companies that profit from "warming" scares.

            Strictly regulating CO2 would give the government unprecedented control over the air. Control of "carbon", if the idea could be promoted

          • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:57PM (#46135429)

            "You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right?"

            I would also like to point out that the New York Times article linked to by OP very definitely DOES imply, in at least several different places, that carbon per se is a pollutant we need to worry about today. Which is both stupid and wrong.

            • 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 cour

            • the New York Times article linked to by OP very definitely DOES imply, in at least several different places, that carbon per se is a pollutant we need to worry about today. Which is both stupid and wrong.

              So you'd have no problem if I dumped a ton of soot on, in, and around your house?

              P.S. Several isn't an exact number, so "at least several" doesn't make any sense at all.

        • by arkhan_jg (618674)

          'Carbon pollution' is used as a shorthand for the several carbon-based greenhouse gases (released by human activity) that are heating up our atmosphere by trapping solar radiation.

          carbon dioxide of course is the main anthropogenic culprit from fossil fuels; but it also covers methane (CH4), which is a more potent greenhouse gas per mole than CO2 and comes primarily from natural gas and oil mining, and then animal based food production, and finally landfills. Carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, though

      • I'm still trying to figure out how it's bad when during earths periods of the highest biodiversity and quite literally greenest periods ever, the carbom PPM was 20 times as high as it is now. The climate was much warmer as well, and we had extremely large macro scale life (dinosaurs, very large dragonflies and mosquitos, etc.)

        I keep hearing that if the carbon PPM gets too high, the oceans will acidify and/or evaporate. So why the fuck didn't that happen 100 million years ago? The earth was 8C warmer, never

        • by Cimexus (1355033)

          It's not 'bad' objectively, for life in general, but it's bad for us - humans. It would make tropical and subtropical areas of the world unbearable to live in (noting that the majority of the earth's population live in such areas. Heat waves would regularly plague temperate areas too. Agriculture and thus our food supply would be severely disrupted.

          Similarly with the oceans - they would have been far more acidic in the dinosaur's age than they are currently. There are life forms that can thrive in those co

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      But carbon is a greenhouse gas, so an increase in CO2 would have a detrimental effect on the environment. Oxygen (the molecule) on the other hand is not a greenhouse gas. When they say "Carbon" they're actually referring to "Carbon Dioxide"
      • by khallow (566160)

        When they say "Carbon" they're actually referring to "Carbon Dioxide"

        I think that was a big part of the original poster's point. It's real sloppy wording.

        so an increase in CO2 would have a detrimental effect on the environment

        It'd also have a positive effect on the environment. It all depends on your point of view.

        • Most people are not pedants or morons, so when carbon is used in climate discussions, folks can sort out you're not talking about graphite or diamonds. Besides there is some legitimacy to using the generic term carbon as many fossil fuels start out with fairly complex organic compounds, the commonality being CO2 emissions.

      • CO2? You mean the plant food?
    • by khallow (566160)

      in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

      Yea, you'd choke to death long before you'd die of carbon poisoning. And pollution is context based. If it's causing a measurable externality from the quantity of the compound in the environment, then it is a pollutant.

    • Carbon is NOT a pollutant

      Congratulations, you are technically correct, the best kind of correct.

      Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down."

        In order for that to happen, the seal level would have to rise significantly, and at a far higher rate than it actually has been rising over the last century.

        Even if IPCC's worst-case projections were correct, you have about a century before it would be a meter above where it is now. Better start fleeing.

        • "Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down."

          In order for that to happen, the seal level would have to rise significantly, and at a far higher rate than it actually has been rising over the last century. Even if IPCC's worst-case projections were correct, you have about a century before it would be a meter above where it is now. Better start fleeing.

          Obviously, that depends entirely on where you live (like New Orleans) - even if you actually meant "seal level" - which actually sounds way scarier (and noisier) than rising sea level. [Bark, bark, bark...]

          • Obviously, that depends entirely on where you live (like New Orleans)...

            The residents of New Orleans should have fled a century AGO. Living in a coastal area that was already below sea level is not a shining example of human intelligence.

            • Obviously, that depends entirely on where you live (like New Orleans)...

              The residents of New Orleans should have fled a century AGO. Living in a coastal area that was already below sea level is not a shining example of human intelligence.

              Absolutely no argument here, just stating an easy example... Virginia Beach (where I live) is only an average of 12 feet (3.7m) above sea level, though.

    • Nitrogen is major constituent of the atmosphere. Now go sit for an hour in a room that is pure nitrogen and let me know how it turns out.

      • "Nitrogen is major constituent of the atmosphere. Now go sit for an hour in a room that is pure nitrogen and let me know how it turns out."

        And how is this relevant to my point? Are you trying to say we have "global nitrogen pollution"?

        • Virtually any substance can be a potential pollutant if it sufficiently alters the environment.

          Wouldn't you say, form instance, acidification of the oceans is a byproduct of CO2 emissions, and thus CO2 is a pollutant.

          • But that's completely irrelevant to the point I made.

            While I acknowledge that it is technically true, I don't see that it has any bearing on the subject at hand. If you define "pollutant" that way, then anything at all can be a pollutant (water, for example). Which pretty much sucks any real meaning out of the discussion.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      Funny, you don't hear anybody talking about "Oxygen Pollution", even though oxygen makes up more of CO2 than carbon does, and in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

      What "carbon pollution" refers to is obviously carbon dioxide, which is both poisonous (by your own criteria) and a pollutant.

      Playing dumb should never be an acceptable tactic in any discussion.

      • "Playing dumb should never be an acceptable tactic in any discussion."

        I was tempted to write something else, but I will restrain myself. I will leave it at this: WHOOSH... it went right over your head. You might want to think about it a bit. Maybe it will come to you.

    • The danger of carbon is not the point in this analysis. The points are that (1) Canadian oilsand petroleum will reach the market with or without the pipeline, and (2) holding up the pipeline is not even preventing Canadian oilsand from reaching the US market, because it's currently trickling in by rail. Building Keystone will make this process safer and make it cheaper for the oil to flow through the US, contributing o our economy, rather than being piped to somewhere like Hudson's Bay for direct shipment t
  • by Omega Hacker (6676) <omegaNO@SPAMomegacs.net> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:58PM (#46135067)
    While I generaly loathe our excessive use of fossil fuels, this is a case where the "market" is well in the lead of regulators. 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. This pipeline simply reduces the overall environmental impact and increases the safety (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?) of moving what is already being produced.
    • 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 Citizen of Earth (569446) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:12PM (#46136035)

      (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?)

      Lac-Megantic, Quebec anyone? One thing about pipelines is that they don't tend to go through the centers of every small town along their route.

  • 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? It would be cheaper, require less resources, and environmentally safer.
    • Maybe it's more efficient to transport one product to refineries all over and let them break it out into all the various end products closer to where they're actually being used?

      • Maybe it's more efficient to transport one product to refineries all over and let them break it out into all the various end products closer to where they're actually being used?

        Oil can be and is refined into many different products, so that might be true if those refineries all over will extract/use everything. Otherwise it might make more sense to ship the crude oil fewer places that can extract everything, then ship only the refined products the remote places want. The crude oil and various refined, extraneous, and by- products can be better monitored, controlled and regulated if consolidated in fewer places.

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      Then you would have to long-haul the refined products to their markets, increasing the environmental impact (more CO2) and potential danger of an accident during transport (refined products tend to be more volatile than crude oil).
    • Funny that the pipleline seems to go to a port. You think the gas companies are going to ship it to Galveston right near the port of houston just to sell the gas back to us for $3.50 a gallon or sell it to China for $9.00 a gallon?

      Hmm which decision do you think it will come too.

      Expect an end to cheap fuel prices and another recession in the midst with hyperinflation. After all most of us westerns live on the east or west coasts while our food is produced in the center. The cost of getting your starbucks co

    • Do you think that the Obama government is going to grant the permits to allow such refineries to be built?

      • It's largely not up to the Obama administration, but rather the individual states and the state where the proposed pipeline terminates, Texas, already has many very large refineries with a collective capacity of billions of barrels per day of refined products and easy access to rail, road, and ship networks for transporting those finished products to market.
      • by rossdee (243626)

        A refinery in Canada is not going to need US approval

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Well you're right. But just not from the government in the US. See in Canada we're dealing with a massive influx of environut dollars from groups like the Tides Foundation among others who are engaged in political activism. This is of course illegal in Canada, and said groups are being investigated now by the RCMP and the CRA(IRS equiv).

          If you want to really piss off Canadians, this is how you do it. People here don't take kindly to wingnuts in foreign countries engaging in hypocrisy, or trying to tell

    • 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 TubeSteak (669689)

        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

        You mean since the EPA was created by that notorious liberal hippie Richard Nixon?
        As a response to an escalating series of environmental disasters, culminating in the largest oil spill of its time?

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

        Right. To China.
        Which is the entire point of piping the oil down to Texas, because there's already shipping infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • There is a certain fixed cost in building and maintaining a refinery. Large capital investments in acquisition and maintenance of specialized equipment, storage and related support businesses, including rail and pipeline amongst many others, are all required for practical and effective refinery operations. Consider also that most crude oil deposits occur in remote locations where none of these support requirements are readily available. So what arrangement minimizes overall costs? Building your refinery in
    • by rossdee (243626)

      Yup, build the refineries in ND where there is plenty of oiil, and power them with natural gas.
      Having all our refineries in the gulf, where they will have to shut down every time there is a hurricane (which is happening more frequently with climate change) is stupid.

      And also that tar sands oil is not just hydrocarbons, theres other shit in it, remember that pipeline leak in Arkansaw

    • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:44PM (#46135637)

      Refineries are closing in the US despite a shortage of refining capacity. Why is that? Because its about 100 times harder to get a refinery built then to build a stupid pipe line. So tell you what, you pre-approve a refinery near the Canadian border and we'll stop pushing for the entirely sensible pipeline.

      Short of that, you're playing an obvious shell game.

      • Your point is false. Right now US exports of refined oil is at an all-time high. Refineries are not closing. In fact refineries are increasing capacity as we speak. Oil is a commodity which will be sold to the highest bidder. Why do you think the oil companies are trying to remove the existing export restrictions put in place from the 1970s OPEC shortage. Source: I am a chemical engineer
        • It is true (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          Refineries are not closing. In fact refineries are increasing capacity as we speak.

          Now THAT ladies and gentlemen, is the mark of the expert liar! They place a bald-faced lie quickly followed by a true statement to deflect attention.

          In fact it is very TRUE that a number of refineries have been closed. You go find the number of U.S. refineries in 2010 and compare it to 2013...

          Now it is also TRUE that refineries are increasing capacity, which is kind of a DUH point since closing refineries shift more load o

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:31PM (#46136133) Journal

        So tell you what, you pre-approve a refinery near the Canadian border and we'll stop pushing for the entirely sensible pipeline.

        Short of that, you're playing an obvious shell game.

        Either you misunderstand the situation or you're the one playing games.

        The point of the pipeline is not to get oil to the refineries, it's to get oil to refineries near a port that can ship to China.
        It's not a secret, but I'm surprised at how many people seem ignorant of this fact.

  • I am agaisn't this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:13PM (#46135163) Journal

    Not because of environmental liabilities or because I hate greedy oil companies.

    But because it is a ploy to export our oil to where they can get 300% more profits than in the US.

    Oddly, this gem of unregulating oil exports is also hotly contested [time.com] political item which is mysteriously being debated at the exact same time as this. Now why is that?

    Easy the pipleline is a way to triple our gas prices or at least move them closer to $7.00 a gallon as petro companies can sell it to China for $9.00 a gallon instead of selling it to Canadians and Americans for $3.50 a gallon. Right now we just do not have the capacity to move oil in one big central location to the scale that the oil pipeline does.

    With the pipleline and the oil company's lobbyists for unregulated crude exporting we are screwed. Add to that the fact that most westerns live on the east or west coast while our food is produced in the middle in Mexico, USA, and Canada and we now have hyperinflation overnight as the price of milk, eggs, and even your starbucks coffee doubles!

    • Seems to me that you should sell domestically produced items wherever it makes the most profit, as a general rule. (Yes, there are exceptions.)

      Just make sure that it isn't just a few fat cats, but Canada and the US's general populace, who wins out on the higher revenues.

      --PM

    • But because it is a ploy to export our oil to where they can get 300% more profits than in the US.

      I take it you're Canadian? Because the oil in question is coming from Canada, not the USA.

      Note that if Canada really wanted to export their oil overseas, they would have just built a pipeline to one of the Canadian ports.

      • by Tailhook (98486)

        Note that if Canada really wanted to export their oil overseas, they would have just built a pipeline to one of the Canadian ports.

        They will [ens-newswire.com].

      • "Note that if Canada really wanted to export their oil overseas, they would have just built a pipeline to one of the Canadian ports." The Northern Gateway pipeline would enable us to do that, but it is under immense opposition as well by native and environmental groups as well. It would take oil from Alberta to the port terminal in Kitimat, BC. Funny thing is that oil is already being shipped overseas from Kitimat from oil being supplied by rail or other pipelines. These groups only pay lip service to envi
  • False premisis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:22PM (#46135233)

    Many people seem to be under the delusion that if we don't allow the pipeline into the US that the oil wont be extracted. It is Canada's right to extract the oil and sell it to the market - and they will. By removing the pipeline to the US from the table all you are doing is forcing the market to adapt. The market can and will adapt by either using trucks to haul the oil (much higher risk of a spill) or by selling their product elsewhere.

    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.

    Now the same amount of oil is being used and it has a higher impact on the environment during shipment and afterwards. Meanwhile the US will be importing oil from overseas to meet demand, again adding shipping risks and emissions. This is plainly worse for the environment and the net result is pretty much the opposite of people are trying to achieve.

    • I like how you and Billy Gates above came to completely opposite conclusions. Can the two of you fight it out and let us know who won?

      One or both of you is obviously hiding something, so out with it.

      • Bill Gates. As in "Bill Gates, Warren Buffett's friend". As in "Warren Buffett, guy who owns the Burlington-Northern Railroad". Note this part:

        "Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail."

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]

        When the pipeline was initially turned down Buffett's net worth went up by over $100M in a day due to the railroad. Do the math.

        The oil's coming out of Canada one way or another. If we don't buy it, China will. The idea that we can stop the pipeline and that'll

    • 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.

      • Even worse for the USA, Keystone will act like a giant straw to siphon out oil from the mid-west

        Boy, it sure would suck to have tons of money pouring into America from oil sales! That's why Dubai and Saudi Arabia are such a squalid, poor hellholes after all.

        Oh wait.

    • Many people seem to be under the delusion that if we don't allow the pipeline into the US that the oil wont be extracted.

      Many more people are under the delusion that the pipeline is not already in the USA.

      It should be noted that the first two parts of the pipeline are already in place, and already pumping oil. The part that this article is talking about will provide only a better path to move the oil that's already being moved from Canada to the USA.

      • by sl149q (1537343)

        The part that is currently waiting for permits will also carry Brakken oil south.

        If KXL is denied you'll see a --KXL applied for. Basically up to the middle of North Dakota and stop. No State Department approval needed.

        Then just build a rail depot at the head end and shunt the oil across the border in unit trains until some bright light in Washington realizes that the dangers of rail outweigh any possible benefits from NOT building the last 100 miles or so across the border.

        And yes, us Canadians will be bui

    • What will happen is this will LOWER THE COST of high sulfur oil. It also competes with some smaller oil outfits in the Mid West which don't have an oil pipeline.
      Add to that the "tax free zone" in Texas and it means that only a few rich guys profit, the world uses more high sulfur oil and smaller companies go bankrupt -- net result more pollution, fewer jobs, and less taxes assessed. So as far as lame-ass corporate antics masquerading as something humanity should care about -- not the worst.

      But there's ZERO

  • 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.

    Actually, this report says providing a pipeline for the oil, so that oil can be processed and used, won't increase CO2 because the oil is going to be utilized anyway, through other means, if not via the pipeline. (Meaning, stopping the pipeline doesn't stop the oil.)

    I believe some of what environmentalists are also concerned about is leaks and spills from the pipeline along the way. Though, given the number of incidents using train tank-cars, I can't imagine the pipeline being worst. I imagine, ultimatel

    • Actually, this report says providing a pipeline for the oil, so that oil can be processed and used, won't increase CO2 because the oil is going to be utilized anyway, through other means, if not via the pipeline. (Meaning, stopping the pipeline doesn't stop the oil.)

      Right. That should be what the debate is about, anyway. But OP and the NYT article linked to in OP do imply that it is carbon itself that we should worry about.

      I believe some of what environmentalists are also concerned about is leaks and spills from the pipeline along the way. Though, given the number of incidents using train tank-cars, I can't imagine the pipeline being worst. I imagine, ultimately, it would be better than shipping by train/truck.

      I agree, and I hope that is so. My main concerns here are: (A) is China going to open-air burn that oil with few environmental controls [which is part of the pollution debate, or should be], and (B) are the owners and operators of the pipeline going to be held responsible for ALL the costs, and ALL the problems, as they should be?

  • I get that the State Department is involved because the proposed pipeline is transnational, and therefore impacts foreign policy, but does the State Department really have in-house expertise on environmental affairs? Afaik they are mostly diplomats, geopolitics experts, security experts, etc., while the environmental expertise is mostly in the EPA, and a few other departments like Interior.

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:07PM (#46135479) Journal

      Not knowing a single damn thing about what they're doing has never stopped a politician before.

    • Yes, well, they weren't the most qualified, per se, they just won the bid because they were the least expensive reporting agency on the bid to "produce study that concludes zero impact from Keystone and Tar Sands."

      If the oil companies wanted a study that said Tar Sands whiten teeth, that of course would have cost a lot more and there's no telling that the State Department could be plausibly qualified for that either.

  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:42PM (#46135627)
    I think dealing with a pipeline spill will be far easier than rebuilding small Quebec towns blown up by trainloads of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]
  • "after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change"

    I want to see the Pipeline approved, but I don't see what the State Dept. is doing making conclusions about the climate. Are they supposed to have their own scientists studying the climate?

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