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Obama Administration to delay Keystone XL Pipeline decision to sometime in 2013

10 November 2011

The Obama Administration will delay a decision on approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada until sometime in 2013—i.e., after the US elections in November 2012. The US State Department today said that, “particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska”, it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska.

The State Department said that, based on its experience with pipeline project reviews and the time typically required for environmental reviews of similar scope by other agencies, it is reasonable to expect that this process including a public comment period on a supplement to the final EIS consistent with NEPA could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013.

After obtaining the additional information, DOS would again determine, in consultation with the eight other agencies involved, whether the proposed pipeline was in the national interest, considering all of the relevant issues together. Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.

As part of the [original] National Interest Determination process, the State Department held a public comment period, including public meetings in the six potentially affected states and Washington, DC, to increase the opportunity for public comments. During this time, the Department also received input from state, local, and tribal officials. We received comments on a wide range of issues including the proposed project’s impact on jobs, pipeline safety, health concerns, the societal impact of the project, the oil extraction in Canada, and the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, which was one of the most common issues raised.

The comments were consistent with the information in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about the unique combination of characteristics in the Sand Hills (which includes a high concentration of wetlands of special concern, a sensitive ecosystem, and extensive areas of very shallow groundwater) and provided additional context and information about those characteristics. The concern about the proposed route’s impact on the Sand Hills of Nebraska has increased significantly over time, and has resulted in the Nebraska legislature convening a special session to consider the issue.

State law primarily governs routes for interstate petroleum pipelines; however, Nebraska currently has no such law or regulatory framework authorizing state or local authorities to determine where a pipeline goes. Taken together with the national concern about the pipeline’s route, the Department has determined it is necessary to examine in-depth alternative routes that would avoid the Sand Hills in Nebraska in order to move forward with a National Interest Determination for the Presidential Permit.

November 10, 2011 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

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Funny how our president, who is so desperate to get clean energy projects going, wants to be Brazil's best customer of oil drilled off their shores & in our Gulf of Mexico (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2V4EM_jaFg ), but yet after 3 years of his presidency we still don't have ANY offshore wind farms up and running, 500 million tax dollars were poured down the Solyndra rathole, AND he is going to stonewall this project with one of our closest allies while record unemployment continues unchanged. PATHETIC.

We want to create fuels plants to make fuel from natural gas, coal and biomass, not build a huge expensive pipeline for tar sands. If you want to create jobs, at least do something sane that will actually do some good.

I would rather be Canada's best customer of oil than Brazil's, as Obama wants it. Just sayin'....this president is a total disgrace.

USA has many hard choices to make in the near future to move the country into the 21st century, to innovate in clean energy production, to produce more efficient transportation means, to reduce speculation, to apply more equitable taxes, to supply better quality services, to reduce disparities, to promote more equitable justice, etc.

We the elected, may have to start doing more for the people and less just to be elected.

You prefer Canada to Brazil? Do you have something against brown people? Racist! </sarcasm>

I'd like to see this pipeline but with a barrel-for-barrel deal: for every barrel of Canadian bitumen shipped to the USA, a barrel of US oil demand is eliminated. This cuts non-Canadian imports by 2 barrels and keeps the N. American economy going.

Big oil painted US GOM beaches toxic with oil spills just last year, the leaks haven't stopped, and $15 billion in admitted damages remains in BP hands - instead of paid to oil victims.

Exxon hasn't paid all it's Valdez spill bill either.

If one wants to question our Constitutional scholar President, what's the purpose of warrant-less un-Constitutional government spying on US citizen correspondence, movement(GPS tracking), and cutting the judicial checks-and-balances out of the legal process.

Per the 4th Amendment, Americas are to be safe in their person and effects and protected from warrant-less search and seizure.

No problem for Canada. The oil will just find its way to Kitimat BC on the Pacific coast and from there to China. HoHo.

Great keystone decision! Interesting idea to slow foreign imports EP. Obama, like all presidents the last 60 years answers to puppeteers. Being a front man for backdoor pundits makes poor gameplay. How about a sim that uses human beings instead of characters?

Harvey, the address of your list of issues is underway, via distribution of energy. The new, disruptive challenge is for all forms of alternative energy to compete against coal and its power lobby. Hard to do with electromechanical systems prone to high maintenance costs. The entire energy sector is under review which is why Obama delayed keystone. That's good. Obama's track record in economical alternative energy is the best we have ever had.

While the electors may have second thoughts (noted here) the President continues to take right actions in foreign policy and energy as allowed. To date he is the ONLY President to challenge the big energy lobbies. And give us affordable health insurance. Soon, ultra low cost electricity.

Is spineless leadership better than no leadership?

Welcome back, SJC, and I totally agree with your statement. It is far more sensible to make fuel out of NG and waste biomass rather from tar sand. The long oil pipeline poses risks of oil spills right in the middle of America's heartland. NIMBY!!!

kelly seems concerned about spills but OBAMA isn't, going to Brazil a year after the Deepwater Horizon spill (worst in U.S. history) and giving Petrobras leases in the Gulf of Mexico and promising to be their best customer. kelly also likes changing the subject & complaining about the Patriot Act, but OBAMA signed an extension of that also. OBAMA supports warrantless wiretapping also!

Roger Pham is scared about spills from pipelines, yet America's pipeline network rivals it's railroad network, and the worst spill in U.S. history was OFFSHORE. There are more spills from railcars involved in accidents in America's heartland than there are from pipelines.

Hopefully as time goes on, more and more Americans will see how the left is a farce - filled with cronyism, corruption, and hypocrisy of the highest order...while Brazil, Russia, India, and China are full speed ahead with drill baby drill and the enviros here and everywhere else say absolutely NOTHING. Yet the minute America tries to do something to become more energy independent with one of it's closest allies - BLOODY MURDER. You people make me sick & should be ashamed of yourselves.

Thanks Roger, I like to look in now and then. A long expensive pipeline for tar sands does not make sense to me when there are better alternatives that cost less and do more.

ejj, the people of Nebraska said, "Not on our land or groundwater."

1250 Americans would rather be arrested than see the Keystone XL Pipeline tars poison our future generations.

The Koch brothers will just have to live on a few $billion less next year.

Meanwhile, the US has the most expensive healthcare on earth(while rated 37th) and NOT ONE Republican Senator lifted a vote to fix it, but voted to occupy all those WMD countries and gridlock government.

The Nazis, with 37% of the vote, also gridlocked a democracy before the Reichstag(parliament) 'caught fire.'

You people make me sick & should be ashamed of yourselves.

kelly thanks again for staying on topic. (sarcasm intended)

ejj, thanks. The topic is wider than a 36 inch pipeline.

A long expensive pipeline - that is NOT government funded - does make sense; For those who pay for it, apparently, and certainly for the American people.

Indeed there are other alternatives – but if they cost less and do more, where are they?

The environmental and AGW arguments resonate among those who previously were comfortable in the child like mantras of the 90s; “Detroit does not build what people want” and “ GM killed the EV”.

Public ridicule is forcing the gov from “losers picking losers” to “losers turning winners into losers”.

ToppaTom - well said! Hear, hear! Also, the environmental and AGW arguments would be more credible if our president was 100% opposed to oil, & all the enviros were crying out over every oil project from Brazil, Russia, India and China. BUT, they are all about U.S. bashing and apologizing for the U.S. - making the AGW & environmental noise extremely suspicious...in light of a president who burned off $500 million+ of our money on Solyndra, wants America to be Brazil's best customer of oil, has done nothing to get offshore wind projects built, and has done nothing to reduce our 10% (20% real) unemployment rate. He and his wife HAVE taken a record number of luxurious vacations & played a record number of golf games.

It's not just the oil industry history of spills, leaks, and lies. It's the toxicity, the water and energy production expense, and the several times the pollution/green house gases generated by oil tars.

Even the oil industry doesn't consider this tar to be 'crude oil' and it was always left out of oil reserve calculations.

The extreme Keystone XL Pipeline expense, and inevitable pollution cleanup costs, would better be applied to transportation alternatives.

Even just a few electric vehicles on the road and suddenly ICE mpg is doubling from the 100 year/20 something mpg average.

To “Detroit does not build what people want” and “ GM killed the EV”. can be added the taxpayer bailout Detroit won't repay.

Stealing from the taxpayer bailout 'operations escrow' account is not repayment and check the GM stock prices for "building what the people want", unless you mean the Red Chinese people.

Nice to see where those bailout tax dollars are actually building factories and jobs.

Oh come on! What could go wrong?

Oh yeah, right;
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#45143060

With the rapid appearances of more and more HEV's, PHEV's, Ecoboost, Hyboost, Ecotec, and big rigs haulers running on natural gas, the need for petroleum will be lessen with time, along with doubling of CAFE in the next decade.

With automotive Lithium battery getting cheaper and cheaper, and with vast expansion of solar PV panels to eventually provide cheaper electricity than fossil fuels, it seems like a huge investment in a transcontinental petrol pipeline would be a waste of money. Even if this will be private money, once this money is invested, then Big Oil will try their best to recoup this investment by influencing more in pro-oil politics, at the expense of the environment and other social issues.
It is best to gradually phase out the environmentally-destructive tar-sand petrol mining, and investing on more environmentally-friendly energy development.

With the above considerations, then, the discussion should steer away from political ideology, and onto practicality. Neither the Dem nor the GOP has monopoly on cronyism nor corruption. It's a human trait, sadly!

Peak oil production should be caused by peak demand reduction. We can extract the oil at great cost, we just don't need to because we got smarter. Keep the tar in the tar sands in the ground, let's not spend a lot of money "scrapping the bottom of the barrel".

The alternative is a much shorter, 3+ M/barrel/day Trans-Mountain Pipeline (TMPL), from Alberta to BC Coast, for the faster growing Asian market. China has already purchased 4 producers to supply oil for the TMPL. Since the TMPL will be built entirely in Canada (in Alberta and BC - with China $$), approval will be given rather quickly.

China may have to buy 4 more producers. That may not be a major challenge, with all the $$$$$$ in their reserves.

A new trans-mountain highway may be co-located with the TMPL. If financed by China, it would accelerate the approval process.

People talk as if private money is infinite, if it is not spent on pipelines it is invested some where else. Since there is a limited money supply and many things are zero sum, there is an effect in spending it in one place and not another.

Looks like China will be telling Canadians to go eff themselves since only 31% approve the idea of expanding pipelines from Alberta to the West Coast (Burnaby etc) But hey, since China pretty well owns most of Canada these days why bother developing alternative fuels and energy solutions that would compete with Edmonton oil??

Greenies want alternatives until someone actually comes up with a major solution and then they run scared. So, China keeps raping and buying and pillaging Canada because energy leaders are too spineless to adopt the new technology. Pathetic.

Reel$$ ... to be pillaged from the South or the Far East or the West may not matter that much, would it?

The Far East may (will) represent a much larger future (oil) market for Alberta and Canada. It would certainly help to reduce Canada's growing trade deficit with China and would create many more jobs in Canada. Three to zero for the TMPL, a new deep sea port and a new trans-mountain highway. The choice is an easy one to make.

Canada could continue to ship 2.6+ M/barrel/day to USA and another 3+ M/barrel/day to Asia.

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