2014 SkS News Bulletin #1: Keystone XL Pipeline

7 facts that weren’t in the new State Deptartment report on Keystone XL

The State Department released its final supplemental environmental impact statement on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Friday. Critics and supporters of the pipeline alike have awaited the report, ever since President Obama last year singled out carbon pollution as a parameter in Keystone’s national interest calculation.

7 Facts That Weren’t In The New State Department Report On Keystone XL by Ryan Koronowski, Climate Progress, Jan 31, 2014

Approving Keystone XL could be the biggest mistake of Obama's presidency

I have made my position on the Keystone XL pipeline quite clear. Approving this hotly debated pipeline would send America down the wrong path. The science tells us now is the time that we should be throwing everything we have into creating a clean 21st century energy economy, not doubling down on the dirty energy that is imperiling our planet.

Now that the State Department has just released a final environmental impact report on Keystone XL, which appears to downplay the threat, and greatly increases the odds that the Obama administration will approve the project, I feel I must weigh in once again.

The simple fact is this: if Keystone XL is built, it will be easier to exploit fossil fuel reserves large enough to drastically destabilize the climate. A direct pipeline to refineries and global markets makes the business of polluting the atmosphere that much cheaper and easier.

Approving Keystone XL could be the biggest mistake of Obama's presidency, Op-ed by Michael Mann, Comment is free, The Guardian, Jan 31, 2014

EPA scrutiny could be lynchpin to Keystone review process

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's critical assessment of the proposed northern leg of the Keystone pipeline could have outsized influence on the final decision of whether to approve the project, experts familiar with the process said.

Friday's State Department report contained the EPA's evaluation that crude produced from Canada's oil sands, which the pipeline would carry, are 17 percent more greenhouse gas intensive than average oil used in the United States. The EPA also said oil sands imports would be 2-10 percent more greenhouse-gas intensive than imported oil from Mexico or Venezuela that would probably replace it.

EPA scrutiny could be lynchpin to Keystone review process by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, Jan 31, 2014

Keystone a green light? Not so fast

The U.S. State Department gives green light to the Keystone XL pipeline. That was the tenor of the media coverage and headlines after the department’s report was released last week.

Read one way, that interpretation was plausible. Read another, it was not. The conflicting interpretations, based on a reading of the document rather than spin from the Harper government and the oil industry, show why Keystone XL remains unsettled in Washington. The reason is not all politics, as is frequently asserted, although politics obviously plays a role.

Keystone a green light? Not so fast by Jeffery Simp[son, The Globe & Mail, Feb 5, 2014

Keystone pipeline: Americans divided on impact of report’s findings

In the United States, lawmakers, environmental groups and think tanks reacted to the long-awaited final environmental impact statement on the proposed Keystone pipeline.

Keystone pipeline: Americans divided on impact of report’s findings by Reuters/The Globe & Mail, Jan 31, 2014

Keystone pipeline: Obama’s unpleasant options

Friday’s much anticipated State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline is a body blow to environmentalists but does nothing to change President Barack Obama’s two eventual choices and the fact that either one will be unpopular.

Approve Keystone and he angers his liberal base — and donors. Reject it and it remains a thorn in the administration’s side for three more years.

Keystone pipeline: Obama’s unpleasant options by Dan Berman and Reid J Epstein, Politico, Feb 1, 2014

Keystone review leaves door open for Obama approval, or rejection

The State Department completed its formal review of the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Friday, sticking to the main, highly controversial conclusion that with or without the project the relentless expansion of Canada's tar sands enterprise would proceed unabated.

But in subtle ways, it left the door open for Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama to approve or reject the pipeline's permit on the basis of the broader national interest—including the implications for greenhouse gas emissions and their own climate policy priorities.

Keystone Review Leaves Door Open for Obama Approval, or Rejection by John Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News,  Jan 31, 2014

Keystone XL decision highlights coziness between oil and gas industry, Obama Administration

This past week was good to the oil and gas industry. First, President Obama talked up jobs gains from drilling and labeled natural gas a “bridge fuel” in his State of the Union address, using terminology favored by natural gas advocates.

Then, on Friday, the Obama administration released a much-awaited assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline’s environmental impacts which concluded that pipeline construction "remains unlikely to  significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands," effectively turning a blind eye to the staggering carbon emissions from tar sands extraction and expansion plans.

Keystone XL Decision Highlights Coziness Between Oil and Gas Industry, Obama Administration by Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, Feb 3, 2014

Keystone XL unites environmentalists and landowners in pipeline battle

With yet another obstacle removed for the Keystone XL pipeline, opponents of the project are pressing forward with a lawsuit, public protests and an effort to inject the issue into the November midterm elections.

Supporters and opponents of the transnational pipeline were both quick to claim victories regarding the US State Department report released Friday, which raised no major objections to the project. The oil industry, some union groups and congressional Republicans called on the Obama administration to move forward with the project; a coalition of landowners and environmentalists said there was still cause for denying a federal permit.

Keystone XL unites environmentalists and landowners in pipeline battle AP/The Guardian, Feb 1, 2014

Obama won’t rush Keystone decision, White House says

Barack Obama is refusing to give Ottawa the quick answer it wants on the Keystone XL pipeline in spite of a State Department report that dispels the U.S. President’s main climate-change fears.

The White House said Sunday it will wait at least another 90 days to make a final decision as it awaits vital input from other government departments and agencies, raising the possibility that the U.S. President may avoid a decision on the controversial project until after the November U.S. midterm elections for fear of alienating Democratic voters.

Obama won’t rush Keystone decision, White House says by Barrie McKenna, The Globe & Mail, Feb 3, 2014

So what exactly is Obama's red line on Keystone XL?

In the lead-up to President Barack Obama's heavily billed speech on climate policyin June, the big question among members of the White House press corps was what, exactly, he would say about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

By that point, the fault lines on Keystone were pretty clear. Congressional Republicans were demanding it be green-lighted. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had bludgeoned the president over his non-approval throughout the 2012 campaign. Environmental groups, meanwhile, had successful harnessed grassroots opposition to the pipeline. But they hadn't managed to flip supportive Democrats.

The biggest remaining question mark, really, was where Obama stood. He had tasked the State Department with studying the Keystone proposal in depth, weighing its economic and environmental impacts. On the eve of his speech, people wanted to know if he would jump ahead of that review.

So What Exactly Is Obama's Red Line On Keystone XL? by Sam Stein, The Huffington Post, Feb 3, 2014

Ten key numbers in the Keystone XL pipeline report

On Friday, the State Department released it final environmental impact statement on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport heavy crude oil extracted from bitumen deposits in Canada to the United States. Here are 10 key numbers from the analysis you need to know:

Ten key numbers in the Keystone XL pipeline report by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, Feb 3, 2014

The anti-Keystone forces are already winning

The State Department has released its environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, concluding that building it would not much change climate emissions one way or the other, because if the pipeline were blocked, the oil would just be transported by rail or other smaller pipelines. This led top Dem donor Tom Steyer to write a letter to John Kerry arguing against the analysis and urging rejection of Keystone.

The State report was a blow for the climate movement, but not in the sense that is commonly understood. Indeed, Even if Keystone ultimately gets approved, the battle waged by anti-Keystone activists could very well contribute to a much more substantial victory later.

Here’s why. Keystone has always been largely a symbolic fight over a much larger goal, not an end in itself. By building up the pressure and attention on climate change, anti-Keystone forces — including Bill McKibben — have helped create the political environment necessary for strong action on climate change.

The anti-Keystone forces are already winning by Ryan Cooper, The Plum Line, Washington Post, Feb 3, 2014

White House vows to keep Keystone call above 'political influence'

White House press secretary Jay Carney vowed Monday that the Obama administration would not allow the approval process for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline "to be subjected to ideological or political influence."

"I think we have seen political interference in this process already," Carney said. "And that's helped delay a process that by tradition has been run out of the State Department through administrations of both parties, and it's important that everyone let that process be carried out appropriately on the merits."

White House vows to keep Keystone call above 'political influence' by Justin Sink, E2 Wire/The Wire,

Posted by John Hartz on Friday, 7 February, 2014

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