The State Department announced a delay in their Keystone XL review process today, as they wade through 2.5 million public comments, as well as work to get a handle on the fact that thanks to a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, there is currently no legal route through Nebraska.
This announcement is a good thing, from a climate perspective. Every day that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline remains unbuilt is a day that it is not pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of the dirtiest oil on the planet through our heartland to be shipped abroad. That’s a good thing, to be sure.
But what would be even better is if this project was rejected once and for all. Such a decision would show our future won’t be dictated by Big Oil’s bullying, and would reflect a true understanding that we must move quickly in a new direction if we are to avert a true climate catastrophe.
You can read our full response here…But it’s also easily summed up by this graphic:
Of course, some members of Congress were quick to respond as well…and their responses may as well have been scripted by the oil industry itself.
Senator Mary Landrieu, possibly Big Oil’s favorite Democrat, was quick out of the gate, vowing to take “decisive action” to circumvent the legal process and push approval of the pipeline as Chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee. Of course, this should come as no surprise given the $1.1 million in campaign contributions she has received from the oil industry.
Not to be outdone, the leaders of the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate both quickly put out statements as well…Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cited inflated oil industry jobs claims while Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner repeated the industry’s oft-refuted claim that the pipeline would help with the Ukraine crisis. Rep. Boehner’s Big Oil campaign receipts? Over $1 million. Sen. McConnell’s? Over $1.2 million from the oil industry alone.
In the Senate, statements from other usual suspects swimming in Big Oil cash joined Senators McConnell and Landrieu’s pro-Keystone XL statements:
- Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): $750,000 in Big Oil cash
- Senator John Thune (R-SD) : $650,000 in Big Oil cash
- Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): Over $100,000 from Big Oil IN ONE ELECTION CYCLE. In North Dakota, no less.
- Senator John Hoeven (R-ND): $285,000 in oil money, also in sparsely populated North Dakota.
And finally, TransCanada’s biggest cheerleader, Nebraska Representative Lee Terry continued his defense of Big Oil at the expense of his constituents. It seems he’s chosen to listen to the $560,000 in Dirty Energy Money over the voices Nebraskans across the state calling for rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
All told, members of Congress defending the Keystone XL pipeline today account for over $4 million in Big Oil campaign contributions. It’s no wonder they continue to parrot the industry’s talking points.
Today’s announcement by the Obama administration to delay the review process was spurred by the fact that the route through Nebraska remains in question. That reality makes next week’s Reject and Protect encampment in Washington, DC all the more timely. Throughout the coming week, Native Americans from along the proposed pipeline route will be riding side-by-side with ranchers, farmers, and landowners from the Heartland to call, once again, for the complete and final rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The question remains: Will Secretary Kerry and President Obama choose to bow to the demands of the oil industry as too many members of Congress have done? Or will they listen to the actual constituents they are meant to represent who are demanding loud and clear that their lands and climate be protected from this dirty tar sands disaster?
Let me add my support for Nebraska and Reject and Protect’s determination to kill the pipeline and all it’s spills! It’s not bad enough that Canada has chopped down it’s Borreal Forest, a critical breathing apparatus for the planet, to make a mess underneath it ~ but you want to put the West’s waterways at risk to ship tar sands overseas? You have to grow up and see we only have ONE planet to co-exist on.
My fathers broker talked me into buying pengrowth stock in 2004. Since then my $20,000 has turned into about $7,000. It took me years to realize that I owned stock in the company that wants to build ” The Pipline”. I will gladly sell the declining stock to donate to the fight against it.
What a pile of unadulterated hogwash. Alberta currently ships 700,000 barrels of dilbit crude daily by road, rail and pipeline to Cushing Oklahoma for onward transmission by Southern Keystone pipeline to the Gulf Coast…and has been doing so for at least 20 years. Northern Keystone will carry 850,00 barrels per day reducing reliance on truck and rail transportation and allowing the U.S. gulf refiners to operate at full capacity, currently curtailed by the reduction of heavy crude supply from Venezuela which is shipped in by supertanker.
The Alberta and Canadian governments impose rigid environmental standards. The mined areas are remediated and turned back into boreal forest, and a large carbon component is stored underground.
This article is riddled with opinion, falsehood and innuendo and in no way is reflective of the truth. Canada is not a third world country and Canadians are also deeply concerned with environmental issues, however, until an alternative energy source is developed Alberta oil sands supply is vital to the economic health of North America and the reason why this pipeline was envisaged as required under NAFTA. It is rightly supported by many U.S. politicians of both parties whose constituents are directly affected.
It is sad that the America I grew to trust, love and respect for it’s fairness, impartiality and propensity to always do the right thing, has regressed into a cesspool of hatred lies and political partisanship and has turned it’s back on it’s most trusted friend ally and trading partner. The legacy of a Presidential commitment to fundamentally change America…and he has.
Lee Terry should be ashamed of himself. The greedy bastard has been all to willing sell out the state to a foreign oil company that has no business here.
Stop the pipeline. Remove oil subsidies. Promote alternative energy source research.
Brenton Siddons, I’m a fellow Canadian. Can you tell me what percentage of the area exploited for tar sands development has been “remediated and turned back to boreal forest” to date? And just how large is the volume of carbon from tar sands production that’s sequestered underground? Well, here it is by the numbers:
Out of more than 84,500 hectares cleared or disturbed, only 0.1% – that’s right, one tenth of one percent – has been certified reclaimed. Just 6% is supposedly on the way there. These are Alberta government statistics. See for yourself: http://www.oilsands.alberta.ca/reclamation.html
As for the carbon sequestered, relative to the total emissions of the tar sands, today it’s near-zero. Once the two flagship projects the Alberta government is pushing are up and running, it might amount to literally a few percent of the ~60 Mt CO2e of total annual emissions from tar sands production. Keep in mind those emissions are growing rapidly, so investment in CO2 would have to keep pace. Alberta’s paltry emissions fee ain’t gonna cut it.
I don’t expect you to trust my numbers, but I would encourage you to go and find out that answer to my questions on your own. You might be shocked at just how little environmental progress the tar sands industry is making.
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