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Keystone XL Now Delayed Indefinitely

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Two months after getting a green light from the U.S. State Department, the off-again, on-again Keystone XL project has hit a new red one. Or, at least, a long yellow.

The agency announced Friday (April 18) that it was indefinitely extending the time for eight federal agencies to review the 1,179-mile project, which has been on the books since 2008.

TransCanada Corp.

A Canadian official says Keystone XL will create 46,000 jobs in North America.

The surprise announcement drew fire from all along the political spectrum, the government of Canada, and pipeline owner TransCanada Corp.

Although no new deadline was given, there is widespread agreement that the issue is now dead until at least after the U.S. midterm elections in November.

4 Reviews, 4M+ Comments

The State Department announced the new delay just 10 weeks after releasing an 11-volume Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final Supplemental EIS) that expressed no major concerns about the $5.8 billion project.

That was the department's fourth review of the project and reflected more than 1.9 million public comments.

Now, the State Department says, it must review an additional 2.5 million comments that were submitted during the public comment period that closed March 7.

The project requires a Presidential Permit because the pipeline would originate in western Canada and cross the U.S. border at Morgan, MT, before traveling south to a terminus in the Gulf Coast.

Upheaval in Nebraska

The State Department announcement also cited "uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state."

XL Map
U.S. State Dept.

The proposed line has been rerouted around environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska, but opposition by landowners has thrown the issue into the courts.

The Nebraska case involves a lawsuit by three landowners who are challenging the constitutionality of a 2012 state pipeline siting law that gave the governor and state environmental regulators the authority to approve the pipeline's revised route through Nebraska.

The landowners said that decision belonged to Nebraska's Public Service Commission and that the bill was essentially written by TransCanada.

In February, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy sided with the landowners in a 50-page order. State Attorney General Jon Bruning immediately announced his intention to appeal, and the case is now before the state Supreme Court. Bruning's appeal stays the lower-court decision, leaving the law in effect for now.

Nevertheless, the State Department says it cannot allow the project to proceed while the controversial, environmentally sensitive Nebraska segment is tied up in litigation.

'He Punted'

The delay infuriated Republicans, some oil-state Democrats, and labor unions. Critics of the Obama Administration called the extension a ploy to remove the pipeline from the 2014 campaign agenda.

“Yesterday, the president had the audacity to stand at the podium at the White House press office and lecture Republicans in Congress about the need to make tough decisions," Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said in a statement.

"But today, he punted a tough decision in the name of political expediency.”

Anti-pipeline protest
grist.org

White House protests in 2011 derailed the original 2008 pipeline proposal.

The State Department denied the accusation and insisted that it was not stonewalling the project. "The agency consultation process is not starting over," the department said in its announcement.

"The process is ongoing, and the Department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the Permit application."

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said, "I know there's a great urge, and has always been, to make this about politics, but we've seen along this process—along the way here, along the route, a series of actions taken in keeping with past practice where the reviews are done out of the State Department."

'Disappointed and Frustrated'

TransCanada president Russ Girling released a statement calling the new delay "inexplicable." Girling said the Nebraska litigation was being "managed appropriately."

"We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay. American men and women will miss out on another construction season where they could have worked to build Keystone XL and provided for their families. We feel for them.

We are also disappointed the United States will continue to rely on regimes that are fundamentally opposed to American values for the eight to nine million barrels of oil that is imported every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada and from the U.S. makes better sense and I am sure a majority of Americans agree.


Read more at http://www.stockhouse.com/news/press-releases/2014/04/21/transcanada-disappointed-and-frustrated-with-keystone-delay#m3OG5qVPkGlYZg5D.99

We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay. American men and women will miss out on another construction season where they could have worked to build Keystone XL and provided for their families. We feel for them.

We are also disappointed the United States will continue to rely on regimes that are fundamentally opposed to American values for the eight to nine million barrels of oil that is imported every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada and from the U.S. makes better sense and I am sure a majority of Americans agree.


Read more at http://www.stockhouse.com/news/press-releases/2014/04/21/transcanada-disappointed-and-frustrated-with-keystone-delay#m3OG5qVPkGlYZg5D.99

"We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay. American men and women will miss out on another construction season where they could have worked to build Keystone XL and provided for their families," Girling said. "We feel for them.

President Obama spoke at TransCanada facility in March 2012 in favor of expanding U.S. oil and gas pipelines.

"We are also disappointed the United States will continue to rely on regimes that are fundamentally opposed to American values for the eight to nine million barrels of oil that is imported every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada and from the U.S. makes better sense and I am sure a majority of Americans agree."

'Gutless'

Labor unions that have supported the pipeline project for its employment potential were also outraged.

“This is once again politics at its worst,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).

“In another gutless move, the administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process—and which has nothing to with the national interest.”

Environmental groups, on the other hand, still want the project canceled altogether.

More coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline project is available at these links.

Keystone XL Clears State Dept. Report (Feb. 4, 2014)

EPA Rips State Dept.’s Pipeline Review (April 25, 2013)

Keystone XL Applicants Try, Try Again (May 8, 2012)

Obama Nixes XL Pipeline Project (Jan. 19, 2012)

Keystone XL Pipeline Stalled, Rerouted (Nov. 15, 2011)

State Dept. Clears Way for XL Pipeline (Aug. 29, 2011)

Legislators, EPA Slam XL Pipeline Plan (June 8, 2011)

   

Tagged categories: Environmental Protection; Government; Jobs; Laws and litigation; Oil and Gas; Pipelines; Regulations

Comment from William Gusnard, (4/23/2014, 8:21 AM)

Well, we are back into the hole again. Let's keep increasing our energy dependency on the rest of te world. Transporting oil and gas by a pipeline is the safest and most economical means there is. No problems with train derailments or tanker truck accidents. As long as the pipeline is properly inspected and maintained (Alaska pipeline reference to doing it correctly), we are better off. And it has been proven by satellite maps that there is no such thing as global warming - this is just a left wing propoganda war to further diminish the US to a third world country status.


Comment from Mark Anater, (4/23/2014, 12:25 PM)

This delay seems suspiciously convenient, but it is the nature of politics to do the convenient thing. Anyone who thinks the Obama administration is unique in this is fooling themselves. All it takes is one accident to undo years of planning and send everyone scurrying for cover. Of course those who already dislike the president, and deny global climate change, will try to use this to attack him, but that is also the nature of the game, however misinformed and unfair.


Comment from Jim Johnson, (4/24/2014, 3:38 PM)

Energy independence should be a goal of any political party as that is what is best for this nation. Any politician that works to keep from achieving that is more concerned about money and votes than they are the nation itself. As for the safety of the pipeline itself, there are many many controls in place to assure the safety of it, but all we can do is the best we can with the technology available, there are no guarantees. Do we stop driving cars because there may be an accident? Do we stop flying in airplanes because there may be an accident? No, we do the best we can and when there is an accident we research why and change our ways to stop it from happening again. The same is true with pipelines. There are millions of miles of existing pipeline and yes, occasionally one fails. When it does we resolve the problem and go on. The current situation with the XL pipeline is due to radical extremists, their political donations and satisfying them to get continuing dollars. An excellent example of an administration that cares more about money and power than the good of the nation. As for global warming, the truth about that was learned when the UN scientists were caught red handed falsifying the data. Every single prediction the global warming community has made has failed to come true. The facts tell us global warming is a falsehood, no matter how hard the administration continues to beat the dead horse it is not going to come back to life. It is simply a political ploy to achieve redistribution of wealth.


Comment from Mark Anater, (4/25/2014, 4:02 PM)

Two climate change deniers in one thread? Clearly I will make no headway here. I will just make a couple of added points. Whether the pipeline is built or not, oil and gas from the shale fields in Canada will be extracted and sent to the US, just by different means. As for the assertion that "radical extremists" are behind this, that's laughable. Environmentalists have no power in today's federal system except in enforcing existing laws, and all of the politically radical energy is on the right from business interests and libertarians whose idea of freedom is license to do whatever they want without anyone telling them otherwise. This is more about NIMBY locals who don't want to be victimized by an accident, and politicians who want cover.


Comment from marc chavez, (4/28/2014, 12:50 PM)

Thank you Mark, I could not agree more. Believe in the Easter bunny and that there is no such thing as global warming,(The entire science community, not opinion pieces but juried scientific articles, must be smoking dope.) however…. I feel the same way. The NIMBYS are in charge of this one and wrapping themselves in an environmentalism blanket....Do I want a pipeline or oil trains?...knowing that for the near future - global warming or not - I'm going to have one or the other. I’ll take the pipeline.


Comment from Andrew Piedl, (5/20/2014, 10:54 AM)

Have you all read this article? http://www.paintsquare.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=11427&nl_versionid=4099


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