Skip to comments.Oil Patch Insider: Keystone battle lines take shape
Posted on 09/10/2011 8:06:32 AM PDT by thackney
TransCanadas Keystone XL project is taking on a life form of its own as environmentalists, politicians and B-list entertainers put the heat on President Barack Obama to block the planned 500,000 barrels per day pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Its turning into a test of wills with no precedent in more than four decades since the battle over the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system.
Demonstrations against XL flared up outside the White House, with more than 500 arrests over the past month.
Galvanized by an August U.S. State Department report that essentially came up empty handed in its search for environmental and safety reasons to oppose XL, the green movement is rolling out plans to march on Washington, D.C., and Ottawa in advance of a final State Department decision this year on whether to issue a special presidential permit allowing the pipeline to enter the U.S. from Canada.
In Canada, nationalists, aboriginals and environmentalists have scheduled civil disobedience in Ottawa on Sept. 26, backed by writers, union leaders and scientists.
Parallel events are in the works for Washington, where former Vice President Al Gore and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman have found common cause in halting XL.
President Obama should block a planned pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, Gore wrote on his blog. The tar sands are the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet.
Heineman said in a letter to Obama that the environmental risks to Nebraskas Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies almost 80 percent of the states drinking water, are reason enough to block the pipeline. He disagreed with the State Departments finding that any spill from Keystone would be localized and none would adversely affect the Aquifer, joining Nebraskas two U.S. senators in pressing Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to require a new pipeline route, delaying the project by three years.
Out on the street, actress Daryl Hannah (famous for her movie roles in Splash and Wall Street) ensured heavy TV coverage when she was handcuffed by SWAT team officers outside the White House.
Before being arrested, she said Obama will alienate his liberal base if he allows the pipeline to go ahead. He does not need to compromise. He needs to just make the right decision. If he doesnt Im sure we will see huge effects in the next election, Hannah said.
Adding to the arrest list was Canadian actress Margot Kidder (who starred alongside Christopher Reeve as Lois Lane in the original Superman movie).
In an attempt to inject some heft into the debate, U.S. climatologist James Hansen, head of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the National Press Club the U.S. must stop the pipeline before the country becomes more dependent on unconventional fossil fuels. Weve put enough CO2 in the atmosphere already, he said.
He argued world governments could still stabilize global warming and avert a climate disaster by leaving unconventional fuels in the ground, capturing coal emissions and restoring some forests.
Girling: XL a proxy
But its not all a one-sided debate. Based on the State Department findings, the American Petroleum Institute said the nations quintessential shovel-ready project is a step closer to reality. Thats good news for tens of thousands of Americans who stand to find new jobs when this pipeline project is finally approved.
TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling, while confident XL will get its presidential permit, complained that the pipeline has become a proxy for the broader issue of oil sands development.
But he insisted oil sands development will proceed with or without XL.
Canadas Environment Minister Peter Kent disclosed on Sept. 1 he expects the U.S. will approve the project because there are significant elements of fuel and energy security, but also jobs and stimulation of the economy along the entire path of the pipeline.
He said that although the environmental concerns are very real its a matter of better informing those who might not understand exactly what the project would entail and at the same time ensuring it is done in the most environmentally sensitive way possible.
Whether that horse has already bolted the stable is an open question that is likely to be answered over the balance of 2011 and perhaps beyond.
Don’t remember any Canadians trying to kill us lately, but moonbats will be moonbats.
Don’t know why anyone would bother listening to Hansen anymore.
Note: this map does not show all pipelines, only the major oil, gas and refined products.
Click map for more information and source.
The total lack of knowledge those in the US have of oil is amazing. With 39 oil producing states you’d think at least some would have a clue.
So, just run it through Montana and into Wyo. Let the refineries in both states be expanded to handle it and ship the product from there.
U.S. climatologist James Hansen,
Hmmmm? Calling James Hansen anything other than what he really is, seems like obfuscation.
Which still means pipelines carrying more petroleum. It does not solve the fake problem. It only cost more money.
The flow lines alone would make that map look like a spider web.
Thank you sir! A pipeline capable of delivering 1/2 million a day is much safer than most, plus the fact that a surface spill has little chance of making it to the aquifer. Then we add in that a surface spill or leak is the easiest to clean up.
Any question these protesters are getting Saudi funding? Build the pipeline and drill.
Pray for America
It does not make sense for the US to import oil from Venezuela and the mid-east by tanker while shutting out a much more secure supply from a neighboring country, your largest trading partner, and a fellow member of the anglosphere. In fact, it is insane and self destructive. But, hey, knock yourself out, China will be glad to buy the oil, and Canada will, reluctantly, sell it.