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Keystone XL Pipeline Would Be Hard to Kill, Analysts Say

Neela Banerjee
McClatchy / News Report
Published: Monday 16 January 2012
“Americans’ thirst for oil probably will push the administration and TransCanada Corp. to find a way to transport Canadian crude across the United States even if it’s not through a pipeline called Keystone XL, industry analysts said.”
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A provision attached to the recent payroll tax bill requires President Barack Obama to decide by Feb. 21 on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States.

But even if the administration rejects the project, it may not be enough to kill it, industry analysts said. Americans' thirst for oil probably will push the administration and TransCanada Corp., the pipeline's sponsor, to find a way to transport Canadian crude across the United States even if it's not through a pipeline called Keystone XL, industry analysts said.

"We think it will be built," said Jamie Webster, senior manager for markets at PFC Energy, a Washington consulting firm. "The interesting bit is, what is 'it'? The future of the pipeline could go a couple of different ways."

TransCanada said it had already started to work with Nebraska authorities to find an alternative route. Once one has been determined, the environmental review could take about nine months, TransCanada said.

Over the next six weeks, TransCanada could pull the Keystone application to avoid deepening the political fight over the permit and submit it later with a new route through Nebraska, said Frank Verrastro, director of energy and national security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.

TransCanada also might begin building the Keystone XL in pieces, Verrastro said. "They have spent millions of dollars on land rights and easements" along much of the route in the U.S., he said. "They could put these other parts in place. It's a gamble."

Even environmentalists who expect the project to be rejected concede that may not be the end of oil-sands crude from Canada. "If it is rejected, TransCanada can come back and apply again," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But the whole process starts again then."

The pipeline would carry oil from Alberta that is mined from soil rich in a tar-like petroleum called bitumen and refined to separate the heavy crude. The project's backers contend Keystone XL would provide oil from a stable, democratic neighbor and spur the creation of thousands of jobs, though estimates vary widely.

The project's critics argue that the mining and refining of bitumen would substantially increase greenhouse gas emissions, pollute water and destroy the region's boreal forests. Many Nebraska residents also oppose the pipeline because it would traverse the Ogallala aquifer, the main source of drinking water in the upper Midwest.

Facing rising resistance from environmentalists and Nebraskans, including the governor and state legislators, the administration decided in November to conduct additional reviews of the proposal, such as alternative routes bypassing the aquifer. The step allowed Obama to delay a decision on a hugely divisive issue until after the presidential election, but it infuriated the pipeline's backers, whose congressional allies added the Keystone pipeline rider to the payroll tax bill.

A State Department official said the agency was reviewing the legislation "to figure out where to go from here."

With the global appetite for oil increasing because of the growing industrialization of China and India, the demand for Canadian crude will only grow and lead to the breaking of logjams against pipelines, Verrastro said. TransCanada has indicated that it will not give up readily on the pipeline project.

"We will continue to move forward in a positive way as we have done since the review process began in 2008," TransCanada spokesman James Millar said in an email. "This project is too important to the energy security of the U.S. And also the jobs it would create to be denied."

If the oil is to decrease

If the oil is to decrease U.S. oil imports from the Mideast and Venezuela as proponents and Senator Hoeven suggest, why not have a condition of permit that the oil be sold into the U.S. market. Otherwise, it can be sold anywhere in the world once refined in Texas and political statements about reducing our imports from other countries --- pure vapor. Oh, ya, I forgot, regulation is bad -- lying is better.

I think Barbec is correct,

I think Barbec is correct, the shale oil is destined to be sent to other countries. So why does the company spokesman say that the oil is vital to America's energy security? More corporate propaganda. . . .

Without any true US

Without any true US leadership, this dirty, nasty, "Big Oil" penis may as well pierce deeply into the heart, er, actually the "groin of America" because without a true leader with vision and deep perceptions, the US is helpless to defend against this friendly nation's penetrations.

No US "leader" (hardy har har), has the guts, wisdom, inner embrace a better option to big oil, such as "Industrial Hemp," except for R. Paul, who has myriad dis-function, anti-choice, and baggage galore!

and another point, the US

and another point, the US already imports tar sand oil & it is refined here. Kinda tough to make a legitimate argument against a different pipeline & company.

To overthrow fossil fuels, an alternative must be brought in - fossil fuels must become obsolete.

can we build the pipeline out

can we build the pipeline out of solar panels?

Let's think about this for a

Let's think about this for a moment.

Why, exactly do we need a "pipeline" to move oil from one place to another, other than the fact that it will cost the oil company more money to pay drivers in tankers to transport the oil? If one tanker spills, that's not much oil; if a pipeline spills, it's as much oil as is in the pipeline. So - environmental exposure is less with tankers.

The odds of hijacking tens of dozens of tankers are probably less than the odds of a deliberate pipeline disruption and/or damage. And since there are MILES of pipeline available... wouldn't that pose a higher national security risk than tankers?

And finally - if most of this oil is destined for outside the US... why should OUR country expose itself to potentially catastrophic spills, or terrorist attacks, all so an OIL COMPANY gets its product out more cheaply?

This is NOT the United States of Oil.

More unfortunately, the oil

More unfortunately, the oil is so toxic, it cannot be refined enough to meet the standard for use in this country. It HAS to go overseas - probably China. And we have the nerve to complain about lead paint in their products.
This oil can destroy air quality globally.
Unmitigated GREED! ! ! !

how many jobs would we gain

how many jobs would we gain if we safely and gradually harvested the energy reserves and strictly funneled them toward American and Canadian manufacturing output?

And, if you look at the

And, if you look at the employment by the O & G industry in Colorado, it only supplies about 37,000 jobs. Jobs that are destructive to the environment, etc. We could definitely improve all North American economies more effectively by doing as you say, gradually harvest the energy reserves, and funneling them only to US and Canadian manufacturing output

unfortunately, the important

unfortunately, the important piece of this whole thing is that this oil is not destined for US consumption but for over seas consumption. It will not employ the numbers of people the oil industry has projected- only 6000 jobs and those are temporary construction jobs, not the projected three times that number some rosey statements had predicted. The oil is abrasive, dirty and does not stay in pipelines. It is the bottom of the barrel. Usually you leave the sludge in the barrel. It is not meant for consumption.

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