Showing posts with label Keystone Pipeline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keystone Pipeline. Show all posts

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rejecting Keystone Will Hurt Obama Legacy

(Sue Ogrocki/AP)

A single action can define a legacy. If President Barack Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline in the next few weeks, as appears likely, it will solidify the impression that the administration is fully committed to action on climate change and generally opposed to domestic energy production. While this legacy may charm some on the left, it perpetuates a false choice between abundance and sustainability, sacrificing a unique opportunity to depolarize the energy and climate debate. It also happens to be at odds with the president's actual record on energy policy.
Obama's term has been marked by a profound resurgence in domestic energy production. Since he took office, domestic oil production has risen 75 percent and natural gas production increased by 25 percent. America has gone from being an energy weakling worried about rising dependence to an energy superpower fighting over whether to allow crude oil exports.
The president's energy production stance has been evident in his support for natural gas production despite progressives' opposition to drilling and fracking. In his 2013 State of the Union Address, Obama asserted, "The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. And that's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits." Consistent with this pledge, the Department of Energy has worked to speed up the permitting of liquefied natural gas export facilities enabling increased gas production to serve a global market. While the administration recently strengthened air pollution requirements for future oil and gas wells, it opted not to regulate existing production, which is where the bulk of emissions and compliance costs lie.
The administration is also employing creative statutory interpretations to avoid adding the lesser prairie chicken and sage grouse to the endangered species list – a move that would greatly complicate energy development in the West. Despite the worst environmental accident in U.S. history, the administration worked aggressively to restart offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. And just this month, the Interior Department gave the go-ahead to allow oil exploration in the Arctic.
Of course, the administration has not always been in the oil industry's corner. The president rarely misses a rhetorical opportunity to beat up on "subsidies to big oil." The administration has adopted strict drilling regulations on federal land, and many in the industry believe more aggressive air quality standards will come. Moreover, administration critics rightly point out virtually all the recent increases in energy production have occurred on private lands. However, the administration's decision to stay out of the way was a choice that should not be lightly dismissed.
Some see contradictions in the president's actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while supporting domestic energy production. But far from contradictory, efforts to embrace both the present and the future is the essence of sound energy policy. Those who believe we can accelerate the global transition away from fossil fuels by blocking critical pipeline infrastructure and market opportunities like the export of U.S. oil are simply wrong. It doesn't work.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

[EDITORIAL] Keystone pipeline delay insults taxpayers

For many Americans, the Keystone XL pipeline seems like an artifact from the last decade, like the death of Michael Jackson or Captain "Sully" Sullenberger landing a jetliner in the Hudson River. The pipeline, however, is still unfinished, still needing White House approval to cross the Canadian border.
Even more bizarrely, the southern half of the pipeline, running from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, has been completed. All it needs is tar sands oil from Canada to be fed into its northern half.
President Obama still claims he's just following normal procedures. But the political reality is that he doesn't want to approve the pipeline to placate his environmental supporters ... but he doesn't want to kill it either. So it remains in limbo and may stay that way until Obama leaves the White House.
By now the federal review of the pipeline has set some kind of dubious bureaucratic record. It has gone on for nearly seven years, more than five times the average for other pipeline applications. It's a good thing these people weren't in charge of World War II, or D-Day might still be on the drawing board.
Ironically, the current procedure that Obama is slow-walking was put in place by PresidentGeorge W. Bush to speed up these reviews.Robert McNally, an energy adviser to Bush, said approving a pipeline permit "was seen as the most routine, boring thing in the world."
The real victim in all this is the American people. The pipeline will bring more oil and thus lower gasoline prices to this country. If the Canadians can't sell their oil to us, they'll sell it to China. That will create more pollution and strengthen a key adversary.
Members of Congress have been demanding action, but the president has ignored them. He might listen if voters made it clear that there's a price for this dawdling. If nothing else, all current candidates for the presidency should state forcefully whether they will approve or disapprove this pipeline after all these years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reid is out and Congress is surprisingly productive

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nev. arrives at the Capitol Building before the Senate convenes for a Sunday session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, July 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

When voters pulled the lever for Republicans in 2014, they probably didn't have high expectations for the Congress they were creating. With two years left in President Obama's term, divided government and further gridlock seemed the best possible outcome.
Yet the 114th Congress has been surprisingly productive — and more importantly, it holds forth great promise on such major issues as free trade, criminal justice reform and tax reform. And although not all of the developments are or will be positive, none of the problems stem from the kind of institutional dysfunction that plagued the previous Senate, especially.
The classic but misleading metric for a Congress is the number of laws it enacts. This Congress has been better on that score than its immediate predecessors so far. But as Congress leaves for its August recess, it is wiser to measure its value based on precisely what it has accomplished, and what aspirations lawmakers can realistically harbor based on the tone of the place today.
For example, Congress took a huge step toward opening up America's trade footprint when it approved Trade Promotion Authority earlier this summer and extended a long-running African trade agreement. Members fully expect to vote on at least one major trade deal before President Obama leaves office.
Before that, the House and Senate approved a bicameral budget for 2016. This might not seem like much, but it marks the first time Congress has actually fulfilled its budget responsibilities since Obama took office. Congress also approved the Keystone Pipeline (Obama vetoed that one), and passed a so-called "doc-fix," which had been kicked down the road for years. It also passed a bill helping the victims of human trafficking.
Looking forward, there's no question that this Congress has a considerably less toxic atmosphere than the last one. Instead of contemplating a government shutdown or a default, lawmakers are talking about what they might be able to pass.
The major difference is that the Senate's new leadership has chosen a decidedly less autocratic style. The former Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev., will be remembered best for blocking amendment votes. He essentially offered the minority only two choices — accept his demands or else stop action on bills altogether. This not only blocked individual senators' contributions to the process (including Democrats who might have benefited from the opportunity to contribute), but it also became a huge source of tension between the parties. Reid's decision to trample the minority's rights by invoking the so-called "nuclear option" did not help matters, either.
Now that senators are free to propose amendments, Democratic and Republican senators alike have more of a buy-in to the legislative process. In just the first major debate — over the Keystone pipeline — there were more amendment votes than there had been in the entire preceding year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

[VIDEO] Hillary Dodges Keystone Question at NH Town Hall: I’ll Let You Know Later

At a New Hampshire town hall Tuesday morning, prohibitive Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton was asked, “yes or no,” whether she would approve the Keystone Pipeline project as president. She took the question out to dinner and drinks and told it she’d call it in a couple days.
“This is President Obama’s decision, and I am not going to second guess him,” Clinton responded. “I want to wait and see what he and Secretary [John] Kerry decide. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Allen West's Rebuttal: Obama Lacks Credibility, Integrity

In a Newsmax TV exclusive, former U.S. Rep. Allen West delivered his own rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
"President Obama walked into the people's chamber this evening lacking in credibility and also lacking in integrity, and the first thing he should have done was to try to re-establish his credibility and integrity with the American people," West said of Obama's speech. 

"Instead, the president focused on this theme of income inequality, as if he, and government, can somehow flat-line out our culture and be the ones that guarantee happiness, not the pursuit of happiness."

Obama also omitted many of the country's more pressing issues in the speech, West said.

"We did not hear the president talk about our debt, we did not hear the president talk about regulatory reform," West said afterward. "We did not hear the president talk about monetary reform so that we're not printing money in order to prop up our economy."

Instead, West complained, the president spoke as if he were a "bystander" to what's been happening in the nation's capital.

"He believes that the only way things could be rectified is through his pen and his phone by executive action," West said. "The president needs to learn that we have a Constitution and we are a republic, and he needs to work with legislators, with lawmakers to make sure that we have the right type of policies that enable Americans to have the quality standard of life and living that America has always done."

"We need to have those reforms in our tax, in our regulatory and monetary policies," he said. "We need to do something about the Keystone XL pipeline. We need to also focus on our foreign policy and our national security strategy, something that the president did not really, in depth, discuss this evening."

Obama also missed a "great opportunity to show humility," West said.

"Instead, he came off as a very arrogant person that is upset that people are standing in his way because compromise does not mean you get your way. Compromise means that you lead, you govern, and you work with others." 

Via: Newsmax

Continue Reading.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mary Landrieu expected for Energy chair, #Keystone approval, defeat in re-election.

Some people might think that this news might disappoint me, given that I am of course a partisan hack.
Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana will probably become the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee early next year, giving the gavel to a lawmaker with deep ties to home-state oil producers and refiners. The shift stems from President Barack Obama’s nomination of Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana to be U.S. ambassador to China, and the likelihood that the current energy panel chairman, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, will replace Baucus at the head of the Senate Finance Committee.
The energy committee’s top Republican, Lisa Murkowski, hails from another oil and gas producing state, Alaska. That may improve chances for bipartisan alliances around industry priorities such as expanded exports of natural gas sought by Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG:US) and Dominion Resources (D:US) Inc., as well as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Actually, it pleases me greatly. Senator Landrieu’s weakness this election cycle is not due to her energy policy positions; it’s because she’s a Democrat who provided the crucial 60th vote on Obamacare. Trying to get out of the way of that rapidly-approaching career-killer – and trust me: Obamacare is hurting Democrats most wonderfully dreadfully – by embracing the Keystone Pipeline will be very useful to the GOP, without noticeably changing the electoral calculus.  The truth of the matter is, Barack Obama rather badly wants to sign off on that stupid pipeline; the only reason that he hasn’t yet is because if Obama does then radical Greenies will rant and rave at the perceived slight to their religion.  Better by far if the Senate gives him a fait accompli. The President can blame the Senate, and Senate Democrats can shrug and piously claim that none of the environmentalist faithful voted for the pipeline.  Everybody wins.  Well, except for Landrieu in the long term.
And radical Greenies, of course.  And the best part?  There’s no reasonable chance that the radical Green movement can actually stop Landrieu from becoming Energy chair in the first place.  All bark, no bite from those guys.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CBS Report Mirrors Left-Wing Group’s Pipeline Press Release

Since TransCanada proposed building the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2009, liberal actorsenvironmentalists, and the media have attacked the plan. Four years later, the media continue to work against the company that proposed building it, TransCanada and this time they had help.
On Nov.12, CBS “Evening News” did a segment on repairs being made by TransCanada to the recently built section of the Keystone Pipeline. That story was essentially a copycat summary of a report released that day from the anti-pipeline group, Public Citizen. CBS not only relied on the group as its only experts in the matter, but also interviewed the same farmer and former TransCanada employee cited in the group’s report.
The key interviews came from David Whitley, a Texas farmer whose property covers part of the Keystone pipeline, and Evan Vokes, the former TransCanada engineer whose public complaints got him fired in 2006. Whitley and Vokes, unsurprisingly, had negative opinions of the Keystone Pipeline and TransCanada’s maintenance of it. 
Whitley told the same story to CBS that he told to Public Citizen, of TransCanada digging up his property in May to patch up leaks in the pipe. The two are extremely similar:
Public Citizen Press Release
One day in mid-May, Whitley saw a section of excavated pipe marked with the words “Dent, cut out” on the ground next to a trench where pipe was being replaced.
Whitley took video of the section they dug up. It had been laid on top of a massive rock. Workers wrote, "Dented, Cut Out."
There was more:
Public Citizen
Whitley: “You’d think they’d build this pipeline right the first time, but now what’s happening makes me worry about how safe this pipeline will really be.”
Whitley: “Well when I saw that, I thought they should have done a better job when they first laid the pipe about getting rid of that rock.”
Via: Newsbusters
Continue Reading....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Crumbling Environmentalist Case Against the Keystone Pipeline

Keystone pipeline protesters / APA new report showing that importing Canadian tar sands oil would have a negligible impact on American greenhouse gas emissions is the latest in a series of developments that have undermined the environmentalist case against the Keystone pipeline.
The report, by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, suggests that rejecting the project could actually lead to an increase in emissions.
Supporters of the Keystone pipeline, which would connect Canada’s wealth of “tar sands” crude oil to refineries on the American gulf coast, pointed to IHS’s findings as further confirmation of the project’s environmental soundness.
It was the latest revelation that undermines environmentalist opposition to the project, Keystone supporters said. The IHS analysis followed reports that oil companies are seeking out alternative, less environmentally friendly, means of transporting Canadian crude.
Killing the Keystone Pipeline has become a priority of the American environmentalist community, even as some liberal commentators question the political wisdom of its intense focus on the project.
The pipeline’s most vociferous opponents “are obsessed with a program that amounts to a rounding error” with respect to total U.S. carbon emissions, wrote New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait.
“There is no environmental case against the Keystone XL pipeline,” said James Taylor, senior fellow for environmental policy at the Heartland Institute.
President Barack Obama has stated he will not approve the pipeline if it results in an increase in U.S. carbon emissions.
However, supporters of the project say Canada will export its petroleum products regardless of his decision.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Environmental Protesters Heckle Obama During Healthcare Rally Speech

President Obama‘s speech on the Affordable Care Act was interrupted Wednesday afternoon by environmental protesters imploring the administration to halt development of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline Project.
Several moments into his speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall, a group of attendees arose from their seats and chanted in unison about the pipe project. “Mr. President, [inaudible] Keystone XL! Stop climate change! For our generation! Stop the pipeline!”
“Okay, we’re talking about healthcare today,” the president said with a chuckle as the crowd began to boo as the hecklers were escorted (a sentiment he attempted to hush).
“That is the wrong rally,” he joked. “We had the climate change rally back in the summer! This is the healthcare rally.”
Watch below, via CNN:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Keystone Foes Pledge Sit-Ins If Pipeline Advances

Critics of the Keystone XL pipeline say they’re still optimistic President Barack Obama will block TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s planned $5.3 billion link between the oil sands in Alberta and refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Just to be sure, they’re organizing a nationwide civil-disobedience campaign to keep up the pressure should the U.S. State Department recommend Obama approve the project.
Activists stage a sit-in and protest against the Keystone XL pipeline outside the U.S. State Department in Washington, on Aug. 12, 2013. Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Rainforest Action Network, Credo Action and the Other 98% have convinced about 76,000 volunteers to sign a “pledge to resistance.” In doing so, Keystone opponents are joining anti-nuclear activists and others who have used sit-ins and other forms of non-violent protest over the years to bring publicity to a cause.
“We believe that whether or not this pipeline is built is in President Obama’s hands and his alone,” Elijah Zarlin, senior campaign manager for advocacy group Credo Action, said. “We will engage in peaceful and dignified sit-ins if necessary to urge him to reject Keystone XL.”
The push highlights how the fight over Keystone, now in its sixth year, shows no sign of abating as both sides await the release of a final environmental impact statement from the State Department that will estimate Keystone’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. After that, the agency, which has jurisdiction because Keystone crosses the border, must determine if the pipeline is in the national interest before Obama’s final decision.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reps. Ed WReps. Ed Whitfield, Lee Terry see Keystone rejection from Obamahitfield, Lee Terry see Keystone rejection from Obama

A pair of House Republicans said Wednesday they think President Obama will reject the Keystone XL pipeline, adding that the project's uncertain fate is hurting relations with Canada.
“I’ve been a little bit pessimistic about the fact I don’t think the president is going to approve the Keystone pipeline,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
“I hope I’m wrong,” Whitfield continued at the event hosted by TransCanada Corp., the Consumers Energy Alliance and others at the Canadian embassy in Washington.
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., another senior member on Energy and Commerce, added he doesn’t “have the confidence” that Obama will green light the pipeline that would deliver oil from the Canadian tar sands to Texas.
Keystone’s unclear future has “strained” ties between Canada’s government and the United States, Terry said, calling the lengthy process a “disrespect” to Canada.
Terry acknowledged the nations’ trading links and mutual border will prevent them from drifting apart, but said Canadian officials and members of parliament have express dissatisfaction.
“They are very frustrated with the United States on this,” Terry told reporters.
TransCanada’s proposed pipeline is currently under review at the State Department. The agency is reviewing comments on a draft environmental assessment before moving onto the final version, which will be used to determine whether building Keystone is in the national interest. It, however, hasn't set a timeline for finishing the review.
Obama said in a June speech on climate change that he would nix Keystone if it “significantly exacerbates” carbon emissions.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Enviros claim Keystone will raise carbon emissions

Environmentalists are taking up President Obama’s challenge to prove that the Keystone XL pipeline will significantly raise carbon dioxide emissions and increase global warming.
A report issued by environmentalists on Thursday claims to give Obama “all of the information he needs to reject” the pipeline as it will increase Canadian tar sands oil production by 36 percent which will significantly increase carbon emissions.
“The answer to the president’s Keystone XL climate challenge is clear: the Keystone XL pipeline is a linchpin to tar sands development, and increased tar sands development would be disastrous for the climate. The president must reject the pipeline,” reads the report by the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment America and Oil Change International.
The document also downplayed the effect alternative modes of transport such as trains, trucks, and other pipelines would have on carbon emissions.
“There is no question the American public is going to give more credibility to the Department of State, IHS CERA, and even prominent climate scientists, who have all said that Keystone XL will not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions,” said Katie Brown of Oil Sands Fact Check.
Environmentalists have stood firm in their criticism of the Keystone pipeline, despite remarks made by climate experts that the project would have little, if any, effect on global warming.
Harvard climate scientist David Keith told Nature that, “The extreme statements — that this is ‘game over’ for the planet — are clearly not intellectually true.”
“I don’t believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect,” Ken Caldeira, climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science, told Nature.

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