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Bill McKibben And Ezra Levant Debate Keystone XL Pipeline Pros And Cons

"Should the Keystone XL pipeline project be permitted in the U.S.?

The proposed pipeline -- which would travel from Alberta's tar sands oil deposits to Gulf Coast refineries in the U.S. -- has drawn strong responses from individuals on both sides of a growing debate.

Supporters contend that the pipeline will create thousands of jobs and lower gas prices in the U.S. Opponents claim that the pipeline will carry oil which will contribute to climate change and a spill along the pipeline route could impact a large drinking and irrigation water source in Nebraska.

President Obama rejected TransCanada's permit for the Keystone XL in January, but his decision still leaves an opportunity for the company to reapply for permission to build the international pipeline.

In the first installment of our Change My Mind debate series, we challenge two leading voices in the debate to defend their views on the Keystone XL project.

Speaking against the Keystone XL is author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. He is the co-founder of 350.org and a leading voice in last year's Tar Sands Action protests against the Keystone XL.

His challenger is Canadian lawyer and author Ezra Levant. A columnist for Sun Media newspapers and a conservative commentator on the Sun News Network, Levant is also the author of 2010's "Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands."

Join the debate below, and see if Bill or Ezra change your mind."
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Keystone XL: Affairs of State
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How the Keystone XL Pipeline bill died

How the Keystone XL Pipeline bill died | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
"Behind the scenes, Landrieu furiously tried to lobby her 60th vote." • "Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told reporters on Monday night that she had the 60 votes she needed to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. • But secretly, she knew she was one short. • Behind the scenes, Landrieu furiously lobbied Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), hoping he’d become her 60th vote. She also targeted Sen. Angus King, the independent from Vermont, and the Democratic senators due to retire at the end of the year, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), according to lawmakers familiar with the negotiations. • She hoped a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, most likely Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), would cross the party’s base and cast a yes vote that could save her Senate career."
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Keystone XL Project Still Waiting for Permit - Steel Market Update

The Keystone XL project is still hold, TransCanada gives details on the project to SMU.

 

"TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline has been on hold since 2008 waiting for U.S. presidential approval of the permit to allow the pipeline to cross the U.S./Canada border. President Obama has said he would approve the pipeline only if it did “not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” Opponents of the pipeline are concerned the pipeline will reduce the cost of oil, thereby increasing consumption and spurring new carbon dioxide emissions. Others are concerned about potential pipeline breakage contaminating ground water and crops.

 

In response, pipeline advocates say the oil from Canada will not affect supply and that it will get to market whether by pipeline or rail. Pipeline safety has been addressed by TransCanada by upgraded safety measures that include using 36 inch diameter with a wall thickness of 0.72 design factor. Recent rail tank car spills have shown than petroleum transported rail is not necessarily a safer option. Tankers carrying oil are now being replaced and/or retrofitted with new safeguards that will take years to complete."

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Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline

Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
An environmental activist has organized an unlikely group to protest the project: Nebraska ranchers and farmers.
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Keystone XL and the National Interest: Obama Is in Uncharted Territory

Keystone XL and the National Interest: Obama Is in Uncharted Territory | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
"Whenever President Obama eventually decides on a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, it will be safe to say this: A lot has changed since Washington's previous two big pipeline decisions. • As part of the research for Keystone and Beyond, a new InsideClimate News e-book on the history of the Keystone XL decision, I examined George W. Bush's 2008 granting of a permit for the first Keystone pipeline, the initial step in TransCanada's plans to link Canadian tar sands oil with American refineries. And I looked at Obama's 2009 granting of a permit for the Alberta Clipper, a similar cross-border pipeline built by Enbridge. • It's not easy to see either as a meaningful precedent for the Keystone XL verdict, even though all three pipelines are meant to expand energy supplies of Canadian crude into U.S. markets."
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Pipeline supporters seek quick Senate vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline are seeking a swift election-year Senate vote on legislation to approve the project that environmentalists oppose strongly and the Obama administration has delayed indefinitely.
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We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet

We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
Desmond Tutu: "Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects. This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada's carbon emissions by over 30%. If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them. But it will affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have. We don't have much time.
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Kerry says he hasn't prejudged Keystone

Kerry says he hasn't prejudged Keystone | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) used a Senate hearing to plug the oil sands project.
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TransCanada Nebraska Ruling Seen as Delaying Keystone

TransCanada Nebraska Ruling Seen as Delaying Keystone | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska was ruled illegal by a state court judge in a decision seen as setting back the project by as long as a year as U.S. officials consider approving it.
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Judge strikes down Nebraska law that allowed pipeline

Judge strikes down Nebraska law that allowed pipeline | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
LINCOLN — A Nebraska judge on Wednesday struck down a law that allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed through the state, a victory for opponents who have tried to block the project that would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries.
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TransCanada boosts Keystone XL cost estimate by $100-million

TransCanada boosts Keystone XL cost estimate by $100-million | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it

"TransCanada Corp. raised its preliminary cost estimate for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday, saying it now expects the project to cost at least $5.4-billion, $100-million more than its previous forecast."


# The company said it still expects the 830,000-barrel-a-day line to be in service within two years of receiving final U.S. approvals for the project.

It warned that the new cost estimate, coming two weeks after it last pegged the line’s cost at $5.3-billion, will likely climb again once it knows when it can proceed."

 

# "The southern leg of the project, running from Cushing to refineries on Texas’s gulf coast, is nearly complete and expected to begin delivering oil by year-end."

 
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ExxonMobil Pipeline Tar Sands Oil Spill in Mayflower, AR

On March 29, 2013, ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline burst in Mayflower, AR, spewing an estimated 5,000 barrels of tar sands oil through town neighborhoods and i...
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Environmental concerns regarding Keystone XL still run strong | KXLF.com | Butte, Montana

Environmental concerns regarding Keystone XL still run strong | KXLF.com | Butte, Montana | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it

"BILLINGS - The Keystone XL Pipeline is called the safest and most advanced pipeline operation in North America, but it doesn't come without its controversy.

 

# Advocates are hoping to have the XL pipeline up and running, but environmental concerns plague the $7 billion project.

 

# 'In terms of environment impact, if we look at it statically then yes, right now it doesn't look good, but technologies are being developed and a lot of money is going into it to change this,' said Stan Pence, the Canadian Consulate to the United States.

 

# With recent reports from Texas that the southern leg of the pipeline is riddled with problems, environmental concerns are taking a front seat.

'There are so many pipeline leaks everywhere that to think it's not going to happen here, is just sticking your head in the sand,' said Dena Hoff, an irrigation farmer from Glendive.

 

# Hoff and her husband are irrigation farmers in northeastern Montana. They say the pipeline is more trouble than it's worth and rural America will find itself in the cross hairs."

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The Truth Hurts? Obama's Stark Jobs Estimate for Keystone XL Pipeline

The Truth Hurts? Obama's Stark Jobs Estimate for Keystone XL Pipeline | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
"President Barack Obama called it: The number of permanent, long-term jobs that will be created as a result of the Keystone XL pipeline will be minimal, he said in a July 24 interview with The New York Times and again at a jobs-policy speech in Tennessee on July 30. - 'Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true,' Obama told The New York Times. 'And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline—which might take a year or two—and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in an economy of 150 million working people…. That is a blip relative to the need.' - On Tuesday July 30 he downgraded that estimate even further, implying that the pipeline would create a maximum of 50 or so jobs, Fox News reported. On the surface it seemed to low-ball the much higher estimates given by TransCanada, the company that would build the $7 billion, 1,700-mile-long dual pipeline through several states from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Although it would take that smaller number of people to maintain the pipeline, getting to that point would create potentially thousands of jobs, Fox News pointed out." - "The discrepancy seems to be on what one’s definition of “job” is. Is it a two-year construction job that leaves someone out of work once the pipeline is built? Is it a rash of services such as sandwich joints to feed those hungry workers? Or should only the ones that would provide long-term employment be counted among the benefits of such an enormous project? - The executive summary of the State Department’s preliminary environmental assessment report, released on March 1, did indeed put the number at '35 permanent and 15 temporary jobs, primarily for routine inspections, maintenance, and repairs,' and added, 'Based on this estimate, routine operation of the proposed pipeline would have negligible socioeconomic impacts.'"
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Keystone XL pipeline vote in Senate expected to be tight

Keystone XL pipeline vote in Senate expected to be tight | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
With the clock ticking until Tuesday, supporters of a Senate bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast are still scrambling to find the last vote.
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Canada approves a new plan for a pipeline to bring oil from Alberta's tar sands to British Columbia

Canada approves a new plan for a pipeline to bring oil from Alberta's tar sands to British Columbia | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
Canada’s federal government recently approved energy company Enbridge’s proposed pipeline to bring Tar Sands oil from Alberta to Canada’s West Coast.
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GOP blocks energy bill, scuttling vote on Keystone XL pipeline

"Senate Republicans on Monday blocked bipartisan-energy efficiency legislation and derailed a promised vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, striking a blow against two Democratic incumbents facing tough re-election races. • Only three Republicans, including its chief GOP sponsor, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), voted to end debate and move to a final vote. Supporters needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster from Republicans angered that Democrats wouldn't allow votes on their amendments. • Monday's 55-36 vote followed days of negotiations that failed to yield a deal on amendments. • The stalemate denied an important victory to the bill’s other sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who faces a general-election challenge from former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)."
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The Keystone XL pipeline, explained

The Keystone XL pipeline, explained | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
The first thing to know about the Keystone pipeline? It already exists. Here's a breakdown of the pipeline's various parts.
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U.S. Delays Final Call on Keystone XL Pipeline

"The State Department will wait to decide whether to allow construction of the pipeline until it has a clearer idea how legal challenges to the route through Nebraska will be settled, sources said."
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Scientists, economists urge Obama to reject Keystone XL

Scientists, economists urge Obama to reject Keystone XL | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
More than 100 scientists and economists sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry Monday urging them to block the Keystone XL pipeline project, saying it would worsen climate change.
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Markey wants Keystone oil to stay in US

The senator doesn't want oil refined in the Gulf of Mexico going overseas.
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TransCanada Pumps Ads Into Washington, D.C. Area

"The company that is trying to win support for a major pipeline through several mid-western states has contracted with more ads to be seen by Washington, D.C. area policy makers."

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Report May Ease Way to Approval of Keystone Pipeline

Report May Ease Way to Approval of Keystone Pipeline | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
An environmental impact statement on the project concludes that the pipeline would not change the rate of extraction of carbon-heavy tar sands oil, a State Department official said.
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George W. Bush: Building The Keystone XL Pipeline Is A ‘No-Brainer’

George W. Bush: Building The Keystone XL Pipeline Is A ‘No-Brainer’ | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
"On Thursday, [George W. Bush] sat down to speak to more than 2,500 oil and gas industry leaders at the DUG East conference in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference focuses on unconventional oil and gas extraction. Bush’s comments, courtesy of DeSmogBlog, explained his reasoning for why the Obama administration should approve the Keystone XL pipeline: 'I do think we’re underperforming economically. And I think the reason why is there’s not enough focus on private-sector growth. I think the goal of the country ought to be ‘how do we grow the private sector? That ought to be the laser-focus of any administration. And therefore, once that’s the goal, an issue like Keystone pipeline becomes a no-brainer. If private-sector growth is the goal, and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new jobs, build the damn thing.' • The comment elicited a burst of applause from the 2,500 attendees of the luncheon."
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This Is What Happens When a Pipeline Bursts in Your Town

This Is What Happens When a Pipeline Bursts in Your Town | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
Here's something to keep in mind before choosing sides in the Keystone pipeline debate.
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The President and the Pipeline

The President and the Pipeline | Keystone XL: Affairs of State | Scoop.it
"On the day of his second Inauguration, in January, Barack Obama delivered an address of unabashed liberal ambition and promise. As recently as early April, before the realities of the world and the House of Representatives made themselves painfully evident, the President retained the confidence of a leader on the brink of enormous achievements. It seemed possible, even probable, that he would win modest gun-control legislation, an immigration-reform law, and the elusive grand bargain with Republicans to resolve the serial crises over the federal budget. And he seemed determined to take on even the most complicated and ominous problem of all: climate change. The President, who had a mixed environmental record after his first term, vowed that he would commit his Administration to combatting global warming, saying that 'failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.'"
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