Obama creates pipeline to no where
The Obama administration confirmed this week that if forced by Congress to quickly decide the fate of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from western Canada to the Gulf Coast, it would probably kill the project.But does that mean the $7 billion pipeline project is dead forever? Will it curb the inexorable global demand for the exploitation of Canada’s huge oil sands deposits? Will it affect the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in beneficial ways and slow the pace of climate change?The answer to all three questions, barring unexpected changes in the politics and economics of oil, appears to be no.The tax and unemployment insurance extension approved by Congress on Friday included a Republican provision that requires President Obama to make a decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline within 60 days. The State Department, which has authority over cross-border pipelines, said that it would not be able to complete the required environmental review within that short a period and would be unable to recommend that the project be approved. White House officials said Mr. Obama would honor the agency’s advice.But State Department officials and industry analysts say there is nothing to prevent TransCanada, the company proposing to build Keystone, or a different pipeline operator, from submitting a new application to build a similar project.A State Department official said that such an application would have to begin from scratch and require a new series of public hearings and the completion of another environmental impact statement, a process that in Keystone XL’s case has already taken more than three years.A spokesman for TransCanada said the company was not ready to throw in the towel and believed that only a small portion of the pipeline’s route required additional State Department review. Mr. Obama announced last month that he was delaying the project for at least a year to take a new look at the segment of the pipeline that crosses the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to much of the Great Plains.Shawn Howard, the TransCanada official, said that the problem could be resolved by rerouting 100 miles of the 1,700-mile pipeline.“The only outstanding question that remains involves just that short section of line,” he said in a telephone interview. “The rest of the route has been confirmed.”As eager as TransCanada is to build the new pipeline, there is sufficient pipeline capacity for now to carry current production of crude from the Alberta oil sands to American refineries. With relatively minor adjustments, there will be enough space on existing trans-border pipelines to handle expected flow until 2018 or later, analysts said.
...The anti energy left is determined to block this jobs project anyway they can. The objections at this stage range from obstinacy to sheer idiocy. There is no reasonable or good reason to oppose this project. As the article points out, it is not going to stop the oil from being consumed. If anything it may require that more energy be consumed in using it. If Obama kils this project it will confirm his anti energy creds, but that is going to be a liability in the 2012 campaign. He will be playing into the Republicans hands.