Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Canadian Oil Sands: Keystone Pipeline - Buffalo Event - Environmental Fight - Trains?

Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Expected By June: WSJ .

The Obama administration will make its final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by early summer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The proposed pipeline, which would run from the Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas, has been under consideration for years, but a final decision on it has been delayed several times due to requests for additional evaluations of the project's environmental impact.

The State Department's inspector general is looking into allegations that there was a conflict of interest with the company that prepared the project's latest draft environmental analysis. That report is expected to be released by the end of January. The State Department has the authority to approve the project because it crosses an international border.
The Journal reports that sources familiar with the decision said that the final environmental impact analysis is expected to be released next month. After that, the State Department will make a decision about whether the pipeline is in the national interest, and other agencies will have 90 days to comment on the verdict. That would put President Barack Obama in a position to make a final decision by May or June.

President Obama has said that the pipeline should be approved only if it is determined that it does not have a major impact on total carbon emissions. "Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest," the president said in his big climate speech last June. "And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."

Read the full article at the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal

Buffalo host site for Alberta Oil Sands info

The Consulate General of Canada in New York and the U.S. Commercial Service will co-host its fifth Canada Oil Sands Matchmaking Event in Buffalo on Feb. 3.

At the event, representatives from Alberta’s largest energy companies will host 15-minute meetings with area companies that want to be part of the oil sands supply chain. The rapid growth of the region, which hosts the third-largest proven oil reserve, has created demand for infrastructure, equipment and engineering services.

Read more at Buffalo Business First

Pipeline Fight Lifts Environmental Movement

WASHINGTON — Environmentalists have spent the past two years fighting the Keystone XL pipeline: They have built a human chain around the White House, clogged the State Department’s public comment system with more than a million emails and letters, and gotten themselves arrested at protests across the country. 

But as bad as they argue the 1,700-mile pipeline would be for the planet, Keystone XL has been a boon to the environmental movement. While it remains unclear whether Obama will approve the project, both sides agree that the fight has changed American environmental politics.

“I think it would be na├»ve for any energy infrastructure company to think that this would be a flash in the pan,” said Alexander J. Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines at TransCanada, the company that has been trying to get a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline since 2008.

Environmentalists want to stop the transport of 800,000 barrels a day of heavy crude from oil sands formations in Canada to Texas refineries, and an oil extraction process that emits more greenhouse gases than other forms of production. Proponents of the Keystone XL project say that the oil will come out of the ground with or without a new pipeline and that other methods of transport, like rail, cause more pollution.

They point out that TransCanada began operations on Wednesday on a southern pipeline segment that connects to existing pipelines to provide a route from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

Read more at the New York Times 

Transporting Fossil Fuels: Rail vs. Pipeline is the Wrong Question

Debating the best way to do something we shouldn’t be doing in the first place is a sure way to end up in the wrong place. That’s what’s happening with the “rail versus pipeline” discussion. Some say recent rail accidents mean we should build more pipelines to transport fossil fuels. Others argue that leaks, high construction costs, opposition and red tape surrounding pipelines are arguments in favor of using trains.

But the recent spate of rail accidents and pipeline leaks and spills doesn’t provide arguments for one or the other; instead, it indicates that rapidly increasing oil and gas development and shipping ever greater amounts, by any method, will mean more accidents, spills, environmental damage—even death. The answer is to step back from this reckless plunder and consider ways to reduce our fossil fuel use.

If we were to slow down oil sands development, encourage conservation and invest in clean energy technology, we could save money, ecosystems and lives—and we’d still have valuable fossil fuel resources long into the future, perhaps until we’ve figured out ways to use them that aren’t so wasteful. We wouldn’t need to build more pipelines just to sell oil and gas as quickly as possible, mostly to foreign markets. We wouldn’t have to send so many unsafe rail tankers through wilderness areas and places people live.

Read more at EcoWatch

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