"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."
"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."
"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.'"
"The growth of tar sands production, however, is limited by the availability of pipelines like Keystone. There is overwhelming evidence pointing to how Keystone XL is a driver for the expansion of tar sands and therefore also a major driver to expand global greenhouse gas emissions."
"Ten recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have written to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry urging the rejection of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
The Laureates, many of whom urged the President to reject the pipeline in 2011, believe that now is the time for leadership by the United States on climate change. The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline is a critical step in limiting the expansion of the Canadian oil sands—Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. The oil sands also have devastating impacts on local land, water, air, and communities."
"Canada’s crude output will more than double to 6.7 million barrels a day by 2030, provided new pipelines such as Keystone XL are built to transport growing oil-sands production, an industry group representing the country’s petroleum producers said."
"In an American political system so perfectly polarized by corporate lobbying and petty self-preservation, leadership on Keystone has so far proved to be evasive and dithering -- a perfect combination for the global novelty betting market."
“As recognized by the DSEIS [State Department's draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement], oil sands crude is significantly more GHG [greenhouse gas] intensive than other crudes, and therefore has potentially large climate impacts. The DSEIS reports that lifecycle GHG emissions from oil sands crude could be 81% greater than emissions from the average crude refined in the U.S. in 2005 on a well-to-tank basis, and 17% greater on a well-to-wheels basis. 1 This difference may be even greater depending on the assumptions made? The incremental emissions from oil sands crude transported by the Project would therefore be 18.7 million metric tons C02-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year when compared to an equal amount of U.S. average crudes, based on the Project's full capacity of 830,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day.3”
“Although the DSEIS describes the GHG intensity of oil sands crude, the DSEIS nevertheless concludes that regardless of whether the Project permit is approved, projected oil sands production will remain substantially unchanged. This conclusion is based on an analysis of crude oil markets and projections of oil sands crude development, including the potential for other means of transport to bring oil sands crude to market.”
“We have learned from the 2010 Enbridge spill of oil sands crude in Michigan that spills of diluted bitumen (dilbit)4 may require different response actions or equipment from response actions for conventional oil spills. These spills can also have different impacts than spills of conventional oil. We recommend that these differences be more fully addressed in the Final EIS, especially as they relate to the fate and transport of the oil and the remediation that will be required. …. In that [Enbridge] spill, oil sands crude sank to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River, mixing with the river bottom's sediment and organic matter, making the oil difficult to find and recover. After almost three years of recovery efforts, EPA recently determined that dredging of bottom sediments will be required to protect public health and welfare and the environment. This determination was based in large part on demonstrations that the oil sands crude associated with the Enbridge spill will not appreciably biodegrade.5”
“In addition to prevention measures, we agree with the DSEIS' s suggestion that additional mitigation measures regarding preparedness to reduce the impacts of a spill may be appropriate (DSEIS, p. 4.13-79). For example, we recommend including the following measures as permit conditions:
* Requiring that the emergency response plan, as well as contingency plans address submerged oil, as well as floating oil, including in a cold weather response;
* Requiring pre-positioned response assets, including equipment that can address submerged oil;
* Requiring spill drills and exercises that include strategies and equipment deployment to address floating and submerged oil; and
* Requiring that emergency response and oil spill response plans be reviewed by EPA.”
“We are concerned, however, that the DSEIS does not provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes, which would parallel the existing Keystone Pipeline and likely further reduce potential environmental impacts to groundwater resources. By determining that these routes are not reasonable, the DSEIS does not provide an analysis of their potential impacts sufficient to enable a meaningful comparison to the proposed route and other alternatives.”
“EPA appreciates TransCanada's commitment to conduct cleanup and restoration and to provide alternative water supplies to affected communities in the event of an oil discharge affecting not only surface waters, but also groundwater. We recommend that these commitments be clearly documented as proposed permit conditions. We believe this would give important assurances to potentially affected communities of TransCanada's responsibilities in the event of an oil discharge that affects either surface or groundwater resources.”
Based on our review, we have rated the DSEIS as E0-2 ("EnvironmentalObjections - Insufficient Information") [see rating definitions below]. We look forward to continuing to work”
The EPA review has identified significant environmental impacts that must be avoided in order to provide adequate protection for the environment. Corrective measures may require substantial changes to the preferred alternative or consideration of some other project alternative (including the no action alternative or a new alternative). EPA intends to work with the lead agency to reduce these impacts.”
“Category 2--insufficient Information
The draft EIS does not contain sufficient information for EPA to fully assess environmental impacts that should be avoided in order to fully protect the environment, or the EPA reviewer has identified new reasonably available alternative that are within the spectrum of alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS, which could reduce the environmental impacts of the action. The identified additional information, data, analyses, or discussion should be included in the final EIS.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson called on the federal government Thursday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline at a meeting in Dallas. The oil transmission line from Canada to Texas would provide 'significant benefits to our economy' by creating thousands of construction jobs and other opportunities along the route, Tillerson said. The project has bipartisan support and has undergone three environmental impact studies totaling 10,000 pages and 14 route changes over the years, he said. In March, the State Department issued a statement saying the pipeline would have little impact on climate change. 'Yet, as you know, the decision was made to further delay the project,' Tillerson said. 'The decision to delay construction was simply a matter of putting politics ahead of an already rigorous regulatory permitting process.'
"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."
"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.'"
"TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline (above) has safely delivered more than 400 million barrels of crude oil to American markets since it began operation in July 2010. Keystone XL will provide refiners on the Gulf Coast with a secure and reliable supply of lower-priced Canadian and U.S. crude oil to displace overseas imports. - In the last month, professional activists have continued their repeated attempts to undermine the integrity of the State Depatment and the five-year long environmental review process for Keystone XL. The request for delay is premised on a collection of disparate market analyses issued since March 2013. Ordering a new SEIS on this basis would set a precedent for a never-ending review process. These groups have tried to stall and delay this important process at every step of this review, including releasing a misleading report regarding green house gas emissions related to the project. We have rebutted these claims here."
At least a dozen state and federal Republican lawmakers have written in support of the US$5.3-billion Keystone XL project that would cross six U.S. states. In doing so, they often pointed to the same facts and the used the same language. - The letters commend the State Department for its “thorough and transparent” analysis of the pipeline and urge U.S. officials to approve the project as soon as possible. - 'Keystone XL will be critical to improving American energy security and boosting our economy,' Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio wrote. So did Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana. And Steve Daines of Montana. And John Carter of Texas. And Phil Gingrey of Georgia. - The wording similarities aren’t coincidental. The letters are all based on correspondence written by the Consumer Energy Alliance, a Washington-based coalition of energy producers and users, including Exxon Mobil Corp. in Irving, Texas, and Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Michigan. - According to the letters, which quote the State Department’s own draft environmental analysis, the project will generate more than $5 billion in economic activity. Most note the 'additional 57 mitigation measures' project sponsor TransCanada Corp. agreed to take to reduce risks of a rupture."
Canada's natural resources minister said Tuesday he's confident the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Canada to Texas will be approved because it meets President Barack Obama's requirement that it not lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions."
"Alberta Premier Alison Redford stepped up her efforts to promote a proposal to ship oil to the East Coast, saying Canada needs the project to go ahead to improve access to lucrative markets abroad."
"SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Alberta Premier Alison Redford stepped up her efforts to promote a proposal to ship oil to the East Coast, saying Canada needs the project to go ahead to improve access to lucrative markets abroad. - Redford spent Friday touring New Brunswick, where she found a receptive ear to a development that could see crude shipped from her province's oilsands as far east as Saint John.
She said she wasn't concerned about environmental opposition to the construction of pipelines, an issue that has dogged the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipeline proposals in recent months.
'We face these challenges all the time, whether we're talking about a pipeline or shale gas development or building a road or building a hospital,' she said alongside Premier David Alward after delivering a speech to the New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton.
'But at the end of the day, the other choices we have to make are about whether or not we're going to be able to continue to fund a public health care system, a public education system, to be able to continue to invest in wonderful universities to educate generations to come and to diversify our economy.'"
"In yet another investigation into the Obama Administration's activities, the State Department Inspector General is probing the conflicts of interest surrounding the contractor that performed the Keystone XL review."
"A casual observer familiar with the Keystone XL saga would think the United States was making it very hard to build any oil sands-related pipelines. But nothing could be farther from the truth. While TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL is mired in seemingly endless studies, a competing project that could carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil sands crude to U.S. refineries every day is sailing through its own regulatory review. Why the double standard? It’s well known that Keystone XL is a cause celebre for environmentalists who see defeating the pipeline as a way to halt the development of Canada’s oil sands in the name of slowing climate change. But what is really hurting Keystone XL is the lack of a serious U.S. greenhouse gas policy and the need to go through a far more stringent regulatory process than other projects."
"Bill McKibben, the firebrand leader of the crusade to kill the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is losing the battle for hearts and minds. Perhaps that’s why he sounds so depressed. One of the most environmentally friendly presidents is in the White House, and he still might not kill it off. 'Go past a certain point,' warned Mr. McKibben in The Guardian, 'and we may no longer be able to affect the outcome in ways that will prevent long-term global catastrophe. We’re clearly nearing that limit.' Mr. McKibben knows as well as anyone that Keystone is merely a symbol in a larger battle. Whether or not it’s built will make no difference to the climate. One way or another, the oil will flow. The volume of crude oil transported from Canada by rail has been exploding – a net loss for the environment, by the way, because rail transport is far less safe than pipelines. The McKibbenists face defeat at every turn. The Democrats are deeply split on Keystone, as they are on the desirability of hydrofracking. The Environmental Protection Agency has postponed new laws on carbon dioxide emissions. Worst of all is the growing number of people in the environmental movement itself who flatly disagree on tactics, strategy and goals."