Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Parties At Odds Over Major TransCanada Keystone Pipeline

Apr 22: The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has prepared a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS) for the controversial proposed TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (TransCanada) Keystone XL Project (Project). On September 19, 2008, TransCanada filed an application for a Presidential Permit for the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of a pipeline and associated facilities at the border of the U.S. and Canada for the transport of crude oil across the U.S.-Canada international boundary. Comments on the SDEIS are being accepted until June 6, 2011. DOS indicated previously that it expects to make a decision on whether to grant or deny the permit before the end of 2011 [See WIMS 3/21/11].
    The Keystone XL project is a $7 billion pipeline that would transport up to 900,000 barrels/day (bpd) of tar sands crude oil almost 2,000 miles from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf Coast. TransCanada has requested authorization to construct and operate border crossing facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border in Phillips County, near Morgan, Montana, in connection with its proposed international pipeline project (Keystone XL Project) that is designed to transport Canadian crude oil production from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) to destinations in the south central United States, including to a new tank farm in Cushing, Oklahoma, and to delivery points in the Port Arthur and East Houston areas of Texas.
    The (API) issued a release saying the State Department environmental analysis to the Keystone XL project is "a positive indicator for eventual approval of the project. The analysis found 'no new issues of substance' and 'does not alter the conclusions reached in the draft EIS regarding the need for and the potential impacts of the proposed Project.'" Cindy Schild, API's refining issues manager said, "We urge the administration to turn aside any additional efforts to delay this important project. The pipeline has passed every analysis and review over the last two years, while additional American job creation and economic growth from this important project are delayed. We need to expand our energy relationship with America's number one source of imported oil: Canada."

    "For decades, U.S. refineries have been processing crude from Canadian oil sands. The Keystone pipeline could expand access to this vital resource by providing transportation for an additional 830,000 barrels of oil a day. Investing in Canadian oil sands will also produce more than 340,000 U.S. jobs and generate about $34 billion in revenue for the U.S. government, according to an economic analysis by the Canadian Energy Research Institute."

    Kate Colarulli, Associate Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign, issued a statement on the SDEIS and said, "We are deeply disappointed to see such an inadequate environmental analysis from the State Department. Given the destructive nature and far-reaching effects of that these dirty tar sands would have on our economy, farms in the Heartland, and Americans' health, we expect more. The American people deserve more. Alarmingly, the State Department is moving ahead with the permitting process before the Department of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has completed a thorough, scientific analysis of the chemical composition of tar sands oil, its potential effects on pipeline safety, affected drinking water sources, and the risk of a major oil spill.

    "What's more, the minimal public comment period issued today would mean that the millions of Americans affected by the pipeline would have little time to make their concerns heard. We are dismayed that the State Department is rushing forward with this process at the behest of a foreign corporation and despite the fact that there are still critical, outstanding questions that must be answered about the threats this project poses to Americans' health and safety."

    On April 22, API issued a second release saying it welcomed the support for the Keystone XL pipeline from the Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the State's two U.S. Senators James Inhofe (R) and Tom Coburn (R). API said the lawmakers are joined in their support for the project by Oklahoma U.S. Representatives Frank Lucas (R-3rd), Dan Boren (D-2nd), Tom Cole (R-4th) and John Sullivan (R-1st), as well as the State Chamber of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Trucking Association, Continental Resources, Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, Kay County, Ponca City Development Authority and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Nebraska's Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) have both previously raised concerns to Secretary of State Clinton about the Keystone XL pipeline project [See WIMS 10/25/10]. Last September, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) urged the State Department to expedite the permit by TransCanada to create its Keystone XL pipeline.

    Access the FR announcement (click here). Access the State Department Keystone Project website for complete information (click here). Access the statement from API (click here). Access a release from Sierra Club (click here). Access the 2nd release from API (click here). [*Energy/Oilsands]