Friday, January 17, 2014

Keystone XL: No US decision yet on Canada pipeline. -Kerry

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday refused to answer Canadian calls on whether or not Washington will approve the construction of a controversial oil pipeline, saying it was still under review.
"I can promise our friends in Canada that ... all the appropriate effort has been put into trying to get this done effectively and rapidly," Kerry said, ahead of talks with his Canadian counterpart John Baird.
But he said the State Department was still reviewing the environmental impact of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline which is intended to carry heavy crude from Alberta's oil sands to Texas refineries.
"An analysis will be made with respect to the national interest ultimately. And we're just not at that point yet, haven't received it, they haven't finished it," Kerry told reporters, ahead of his bilateral talks with Baird.

A months-long review process solicited over a million responses, and Kerry said the queries had to be given "appropriate answers."
"The public has a role in this. We're all accountable to our publics. The democratic process demands that we do that," the top US diplomat said.
Baird said he hoped Washington would release its report "in short order and that the administration will be in a position to make a positive decision."
"Obviously, this is a tremendously important project for the future prosperity of the Canadian economy," Baird said.
"It's a great project. It'll create a lot of jobs here in the United States. It's a great project which will increase the energy security of our closest friend and ally."
At a speech on Thursday at the US Chamber of Commerce, Baird had called on the United States to end its foot-dragging over the issue.
"The time for Keystone is now," he said.
"I'll go further -- the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one. We can't continue in this state of limbo."
US President Barack Obama is expected to decide this year whether to greenlight the $5.3 billion, 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometre) pipeline, first proposed back in 2008.
The project was put forth by TransCanada, which operates oil and gas pipelines in North America.
Environmentalists have opposed the pipeline because the oil it will carry requires huge amounts of energy and water to extract, and producing and refining it generates a large amount of damaging emissions in the process.
They also warn the pipeline will carry risks of environmentally damaging spills.


  1. Keystone pipeline 'would not significantly worsen climate change': U.S. State Dept....

    WASHINGTON -- The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada moved a significant step toward completion Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction. The finding is likely to be welcomed by Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states but is sure to further rankle environmentalists already at odds with President Barack Obama over his energy policy.

    The department report stops short of recommending approval of the $7 billion pipeline, which has become a major symbol of the political debate over climate change. But the review gives Obama political cover if he chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups. Foes say the pipeline would carry "dirty oil" that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.

    Republicans and business and labour groups have urged Obama to approve the pipeline to create thousands of jobs and move toward North American energy independence. The pipeline is also strongly supported by Democrats in oil and gas-producing states, including Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. All face re-election this year and could be politically damaged by rejection of the pipeline. Republican Mitt Romney carried all three states in the 2012 presidential election.......

  2. Keystone pipeline won’t hurt environment much, US govt report says...

    The US State Department raised few objections to the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline in a report released Friday, saying that the project won’t impact the pace of Canadian oil sands development and its contribution to climate change.

    While the State Department took no position on the project and stopped short of recommending if the line should be built, it did claim the pipeline is more environmentally sound than other options.

    "The approval or denial of any single project is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction of the oil and the oil sands, or the refining of heavy crude on the US Gulf Coast," a State official told reporters ahead of the release.

    The report marks a major step toward the completion of the US$7 billion oil pipeline that would allow transport high-carbon tar sands crude from western Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to make a definitive decision on approval of Keystone XL in a matter of months. The State Department’s report will give Obama political cover to endorse the pipeline in the face of much opposition in the US based on environmental concerns.

    The report posited that tar sands from Canada will be developed regardless of whether the pipeline is approved, and that other options to transport oil to the Gulf Coast - including rail, trucks and barges - would be worse in exacerbating climate change.

    The State Department is expected to hold a press conference later Friday. ............


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