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State Department providing more time for agency feedback on Keystone XL

18 April 2014

On Friday, the US State Department notified the eight federal agencies involved in the process (the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) that it will provide them more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project.

The State Department said that the agencies needed additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state.

In addition, the State Department, which is ultimately responsible for determining whether or not to award the Presidential Permit that would allow the pipeline to cross the US-Canada border, will review and “appropriately consider” the approximately 2.5 million public comments received during the public comment period that closed on 7 March 2014.

The State Department emphasized that the agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, it said, and the Department and relevant agencies are “actively continuing” work in assessing the Permit application.

The Permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents. The Department will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.

—US Department of State

The Keystone XL pipeline project was first proposed in 2008. In 2012, the original application for a Presidential Permit was denied. TransCanada subsequently filed a new application, including proposed new routes through the state of Nebraska.

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Comments

This will purposely delay the final decision till after the November 2014 elections.

Canada should go ahead with the western Trans-Mountain Pipelines + Pacific coast harbour facilities and the East Coast pipelines to get new customers.

Agencies that require "more time for the submission of their views" are committing legerdemain without a scrap of legal contention that should sway the Nebraska courts. The federal courts are where the action is, as they supersede the states. So where is the federal litigation?

This Keystone II red herring is simply the arrogant attempt by this administration to exert power for its own sake. We heard the argument that tar sand petroleum will corrode the pipeline -- so where are the efforts to shut down some fifty year old pipelines that are in worse shape? Or that this would contaminate the Ogallala Acquifer. Wrong. A bypass route was devised years ago. Or that fewer jobs would be produced than claimed and these would be -- ahem -- temporary (I'll bet some Americans from anywhere would give their eye teeth for a good-paying six-month stint in the field).

Now we hear that a more efficient pipeline route would raise fuel prices in the Midwest because such fuel, in glut, would no longer be bottled up. If that's the case, why don't we just bottle up some oil at our East Coast and California refineries and ban the reexport of oil?

Not every capitalist decision is perfect. But Keystone is a relatively small expense compared to other petro-capital. And there is no reason for D.C. to micromanage it in this way.

I would urge anyone who genuinely believes in science and its potential to increase growth and prosperity to give democratic senators the boot this fall, along with their environmental lobbyist friends and their enviro-lawyers, who have choked our court system with disasterous litigation.

PS:
1. I don't watch Fox News and don't even own a TV.
2. My progressive detractors appear to watch Fox News considerably more than anyone I know, so much do they complain of it.
3. There is nothing mutually exclusive between Keystone and a pro-environment, pro-sustainability and anti-greenhouse warming agenda. Unless you wish to 'Destroy the village to save the village' -- ergo, cripple the economy until we are forced to ride motorbikes to live.

The billions USD to be spent on building the Keystone pipeline could be spent on Giga-scale Battery factories for PHEV. This can produce millions of PHEV-30 YEARLY, having a 10 kWh batttery pack. Then, with the amount of petroleum saved by those tens of millions of PHEV's produced over a decade or two, guess what, the Keystone Pipeline will no longer be necessary!

If China are aggressive about electrifying their vehicle fleet, like the hot-selling BYD PHEV's, perhaps in due time, the Keystone pipeline will no longer be necessary to supply oil for exporting to China.

So, sure hope that the US gov will do a favor and save potentially-wasted private investments on the pipeline, and instead, will direct future private energy investments into more worthwhile RE infrastructure and electrification of transportation. Investments into petroleum independence will be much better for the economy in the long term.

Keystone Pipeline is simply a scheme to move oil from Canada to Gulf coast where we will refine it and sell it to other countries. So what is the benefit to US? A few temporary jobs to build the pipeline. Benefit to big oil -- huge profits. Risks -- more pollution in US, oil spills. In five years the construction jobs will be gone. In ten years, oil use for transportation will be in decline. Why should we do this. Let the Canadians build a pipeline if they want.

I'm not sure those giga-scale PHEV factories will be profitable or even technologically up to date. What "giga" are we talking about? GM has a NAV of about $80 billion -- which is about what the bailout cost us and will continue to cost us. Are PHEV's any more affordable now?

You talk of aggressive Chinese efforts to sell their BYD's and other electrics. How aggressive have they been about saving the Bottle-Nosed Dolphin? Cutting air pollution? Promoting democratic liberties and basic accountability? Adhering to the spirit of actual law in land title and other real estate issues? In light of these failures, the BYD can either be seen as a Potemkinesque palliative to the precarious financial state of the Chinese middle class, or yet another chauvinistic attempt to gall westerners, with no real sense of fair competition or cooperative allegience in the marketplace.

In other words, BYD will be a cure for oil only when it becomes as big as GM, and is better managed, with no state intervention.

If Keystone is simply a "scheme" to move oil to Gulf Coast refineries and send it abroad, so what? Shall we expect our ultimate customers for distillates to build their own refineries from scratch? What about all that Venezuelan oil we refine for Europe? Chavistas have allowed their refinery capacity to go down the tubes, along with their food production. If you want to make a moral judgement about what we drill and refine, fine, here's one:

Less oil to enrich Putinistas and Chavistas, and more of it produced for and by Canadians and Americans.

I detected another crack up there about "huge profits" for "big oil". Little do you realize that your big non-oil companies, including your astroturf greenies like GE and Google have parked billions in accumulated cash in banks (much of it overseas) which could balance our current federal budget? More beneficial I think to have a debate over corporate taxation and oligopic power than a dust-up about oil companies that are forced to do more and more business abroad with less-than-enlightened governments that own 90% of the oil leases in the world.

Would some of you really begin to think? One thought has been large in my mind: The sustainable economy has been so long coming and still so remote, that there is plenty of use for Keystone and the rest of the oil business.

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