State Department Likely to Approve Oil Sands Pipeline Over the Objections of Environmental Lobbyists


Conflict oil or Canadian oil?

Environmental lobbying groups really hate the Keystone XL pipeline which would be constructed through the middle of the country, enabling more than 1 million barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude to get to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. Environmental activist Bill McKibben is leading protests against the pipeline outside the White House this month (he's spent two nights in jail). The protesters want the president to order the State Department to nix the pipeline. Will the protests stop it? The Washington Post suggests not

The State Department will remove a major roadblock to construction of a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas when it releases its final environmental assessment of the project as soon as Friday, according to sources briefed on the process.

The move is critical because it will affirm the agency's earlier finding that the project will have "limited adverse environmental impacts" during construction and operation, according to sources familiar with the assessment who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public.

That's good news for people worried about U.S. energy security and jobs. For my somewhat different take on the Keystone XL pipeline see my recent dispatches from my trip to northern Alberta—The Man-Made Miracle of Oil from Sand and Conflict Oil or Canadian Oil? 

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  1. Is there any good thing some enviro-douche isn’t trying to stop?

    1. Not just some enviro-douche, its Bill McKibben. He is the reason my kids will never go to Middlebury, even if they get full scholarships. What an awful human being!

    2. Handjobs. Or are they trying to put an end to those, too?

  2. Looks like a NAFTA Superpipeline to me. Maybe Lonewacko was right.

  3. environmental groups hate everything. These are the same folks who blocked windmills along the east coast and a solar farm in the Mojave desert. Of course, they are against fossil fuels. They won’t be happy until America resembles some 3rd world backwater, where the only thing shared is the misery.

    1. not windlills, wind turbines. and many property owners along the coast oppose them also. something about ruining their precious seascape

    2. the watermellon greens have a revolving and intelocking set of excuses to be against just about anything.

      For example:

      We have to have fuel mileage mandates, hybrid and electric car subsidies, etc. becuse we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil from the middle east, Venezuala, etc.

      But if someone responds that we can reduce our dependence on oil from dangerous parts of the world by increased domestic exploration and production or increased sourcing from Canada such as that pipleline, then the excuse is that it’s too bad for the environment.

      We have to develop signifcantly more expense and less reliable sources of alternative energy such as wind (except not in their back yard) and solar because coal puts out too much CO2 and is warming the planet. But when the response is use more natural gas which puts out less or nuclear which puts out none, then the excuse is hydraulic fracturing to get nat gas from shale is poisoning the water and nuclear is too dangerous.

      And so it goes around and around.

  4. Yeah baby pipe that shit straight to Houston! Boom times a-comin’!

    1. Too bad there aren’t ant refineries that are closer than 1,661 miles away.

      1. I’m quite refined enough, thank you, and pass the Beluga.


    Andrew Leonard hyperventillates:

    Sometime before the end of this year, the State Department will decide whether to approve the 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline, intended to connect the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, with the refineries of southern Texas. For many environmentalists, the fate of the world, literally, depends on the Obama administration’s yea or nay.
    Extracting oil from tar sands is an expensive, massively environmentally destructive process that produces more greenhouse gases than the exploitation of conventional sources of oil. If the world continues down its current pell-mell path, avidly devouring dirtier and dirtier sources of fossil fuel, the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere will surely go far past the point of no return.

    Fuck Andrew, gimme more cheap gas 😉

    1. But we won’t be alive then so who cares?

      1. Many of the same people who take Keynes’s view of the long run w.r.t. debt, are terribly concerned about the future generations w.r.t. the environment.

  6. It seems like our pumping oil has helped keep it from soaking into the ground. Didn’t farmers used to complain about oily soil? Where’d those tar pits that swallowed up all the saber toothed tigers come from?

  7. OK, why does the State Department have anything at all to say about the construction of a pipeline from Canada?

    In particular, why is it cogitating over potential environment impacts?

    1. Have you ever seen a plate of spaghetti? It’s kinda like that.

    2. It doesn’t really fit within the purview of any other department since it crosses national borders. Maybe DHS but that’s a stretch.

      1. So, State has jurisdiction over imported goods and international transport? Who knew/since when?

    3. Good question.

      Also, why is the Securities and Exchange Commission sticking it’s nose into hydraulic fracking technology?

    4. State has to deal with pissed of Canucks shouting long strings of curse words and then “EH?!” if it doesn’t go through, I think.

  8. It’s time for some culturally insensitive british pub rock from The Monks.…..r_embedded

  9. Instead of building a 1500 mile long pipeline, why not build some refineries in the northern states to use the oil?

    1. Ask the EPA.

    2. Pretty sure it’s essentially impossible to build a refinery anywhere in the US at this point due to NIMBYism.

      1. There are some places up along the northern border that are a helluva long way from anyone’s back yard.

        It’s probably more to do with the cost of running a refinery in -30 degree winters.

    3. + 1 to Wayne and R C Dean
      + 3 to Tulpa

    4. I agree with this completely.

      Why not western North Dakota? They are pumping a crap load of oil out of there now. And there aren’t any people living there, so it would have minimal impact on civilization.

      I’m baffled why we have to ship it extra far so it has a chance of getting damaged/spilled during the next hurricane.

      1. Why do you hate me, Pope Jimbo? WHY???

  10. As long as someone who produces nothing is making decisions for the people who do, Utopia will follow.

  11. What I really hate about this is the sheer dishonesty of it all.

    Even if you believe in allowing environmental concerns to determine how people get to use their property, those concerns should be limited to the use itself, and not imagined or theoretical second-level events arising from that use.

    For example, when analyzing a permit application for a pipeline, you would look at the environmental hazards of constructing and maintaining that pipeline.

    The concerns McKibben seems to think should be a focus of the permit process have nothing to do with the actual property use under consideration. His objection boils down to, “If we let this pipeline get built, Canadians will damage Canadian property by processing the tar sands up there,” with a side helping of, “If we let people pipe oil to Houston, people might actually burn that oil as fuel.”

    So we have as environmental concerns governing the use of property within the US:

    1) uses of property that’s not in the US.

    2) the legal burning of fossil fuels, which happens all over the world every day.

    This is epic douchebaggery.

    1. You are quite correct.

    2. + 1 to Fluffy

    3. Well said, Fluffy. In the end, the Canadians aren’t going to shrug their shoulders and shut things down if we don’t take their oil sand product. They’ll find someone else to use it.

      1. We’re already negotiating with the Chinese.

        Seems they prefer dealing with maple-sucking puck-slappers instead of middle eastern dictatorships.

        1. QED. And we know what’d happen to the eco-pests if they started protesting in Tienanmen.

  12. Better to kill and maim in remote oil-producing countries for our benefit. We want our elk and buffalo to roam free. North American petroleum is evil.

    1. ah yes, the conundrum that is the modern enviro-proggy….always quick to bitch about quality of life, seldom willing to sacrifice his own. Park your car and start walking, unplug the Internet and return to snail mail, and while at it, research something a bit more creative than “kill and maim”.

  13. Environmental lobbying groups really hate the Keystone XL pipeline

    …as opposed to the pipelines *they really love*?

    [insert repeat of what Fluffy said]

    1. G: The focus was on the “really.”

  14. “limited adverse environmental impacts”

    Is any impact going to be deemed unlimited? Duh.

    1. The sun colliding with another star might be unlimited as far as the earth is concerned.

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