Keystone XL —- Battle Continues

The Keystone Pipeline Battle Continues. Supporters and critics of the proposed Keystone Pipeline Expansion Project, which would extend the existing TransCanada pipeline from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, are organizing to make their case for or against importing tar sands from Alberta Canada, reports the Washington Post. The proposed extension will provide an estimated 20,000 blue collar jobs over a two year period, and import an extra half million barrels of oil a day from Canada. The State Department, with no experience in oil pipelines or engineering, has yet to issue a permit for the divisive project. Environmental groups are clashing with unlikely alliances of indigenous Canadians and Nebraskan pipe fitters over the merits and risks of such a massive project. The pipeline will traverse environmentally sensitive areas such as Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the Ogalalla Aquifer, which provides drinking water for 2 million people. Local ranchers and farmers have questioned why the pipeline needs to pass through an area where the aquifer runs just a few feet below the ground and the sandy soil makes it harder for vegetation to regrow. An Energy Department-commissioned analysis, which has not been released but has been obtained by The Washington Post, provides fodder to both sides’ arguments. The report says the United States can obtain the Canadian crude it needs for the next decade without the Keystone extension, but it suggests that increasing oil-sands imports and reducing overall U.S. oil demand would “have the potential to very substantially reduce U.S. dependency on non-Canadian foreign oil, including from the Middle East.” The State Department has discussed the proposal with the EPA and other relevant agencies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caused a bit of an uproar last October when she publicly stated the State Department was “inclined” to grant the permit. Since then the State Department has delayed a decision while further impact studies are being conducted. ((24 JAN 2011))











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