Tag Archives: Keystone XL

Pipeline Rejection Bad for U.S.-Canada Relations, says Redford: Alberta Premier in Washington Again to Advocate for Keystone XL Pipeline

12 Apr

Apr 10, 2013 – CP

If the Obama administration rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, it would be a significant thorn in Canadian-U.S. relations, Alberta’s premier said Wednesday.

Premier Alison Redford was in Washington for her fourth trip to lobby on behalf of a pipeline that Canada sees as critical to its economic well-being.

The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast, which has numerous refineries. A decision is expected later this summer.

“It would become something that we would continue to talk about,” Redford said of a possible rejection during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It would be a continuing issue.”

The pipeline has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over climate change. Republicans and business and labour groups have urged the Obama administration to approve the pipeline as a source of much-needed jobs and a step toward North American energy independence.

Environmental groups have been pressuring President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline, saying it would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.

Obama’s initial rejection of the pipeline last year went over badly in Canada, which relies on the U.S. for 97 per cent of its energy exports.

Effect on Canada’s GDP

The pipeline is critical to Canada, which needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oilsands production from northern Alberta. The region has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oilsands is expected to increase to 3.7 million in 2025. Only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more reserves.

A lack of pipelines and a bottleneck of oil in the U.S. Midwest have reduced the price of Canadian crude and have cost oil producers and the federal and Alberta government billions in revenue.

Canada’s central bank estimated lower prices for Canada’s crude reduced annualized real GDP growth by 0.4 percentage points in the second half of last year. Canada’s economy grew just 1.8 per cent in 2012.

Both the federal and provincial governments have increased lobbying efforts to get Keystone XL approved.

Alberta’s environmental record

Redford said she was in Washington to provide information on Alberta’s environmental record as the decision nears.

Redford and Alberta’s environmental minister met with Democrats and Republicans from Congress and Senate, as well as officials with the State Department.

“I find that people are still somewhat surprised at our record, whether it’s the fact that we’ve put a price on carbon or that we’ve put $1.2 billion into carbon capture and storage,” Redford said.

Redford has touted her province’s $15-per-tonne tax on carbon for heavy emitters, but her government has also acknowledged it’s falling far behind on its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Redford said the debate about Keystone XL has had glaring deficiencies “that are overshadowing the truth.”

She tried to put the Canadian oilsands in perspective during a speech at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday by saying the oilsands contribute to just 7 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse emissions and less than 0.15 per cent of the global total.

She said the oilsands operations produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the electric power plants in Ohio and Indiana.

“We see an awful lot of reaction of surprise. Not only is the footprint smaller, but also our long-term plan to deal with those issues are very aggressive and more aggressive than what we are seeing in the United States,” she said.

A number of anti-Keystone protesters repeatedly interrupted her talk at the Brookings Institution.

Redford said those opposed to the pipeline are trying to link the approval of the proposed pipeline to Obama’s legacy on climate change, but said she’s optimistic it will be approved because there is a strong regulatory system in the U.S.

“It’s one the reasons that there are 297,000 kilometers of pipeline infrastructure in the United States already. Keystone would only add one per cent in terms of linear distance,” she said. “The infrastructure exists. It works well.”

Republished from CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/04/10/calgary-alberta-alison-redford-washington-pipeline.html?cmp=rss


Province Pushes Keystone XL Pipeline With Another Round of U.S. Ads

12 Apr

By Bryan Weismiller, Calgary Herald April 7, 2013

CALGARY —  Alberta is releasing another series of advertisements in U.S. publications aimed at convincing Americans that approving the Keystone XL pipeline would benefit both sides of the border.

The advertisements, which carry a $77,000-price tag, are being rolled out in the Washington Post and news websites this week as Premier Alison Redford returns to Capitol Hill to pitch power brokers on the value of the controversial oil pipeline.

“These ads are targeted at key decision-makers in the Washington area,” Neala Barton, press secretary for Redford, told the Herald.

“We want them to know about the province’s strong environmental record and the huge potential for energy security and job creation that the pipeline would bring.”

The quarter-page Post ad, titled “Keystone XL: The Choice of Reason,” appeals to American patriotism, middle-class prosperity and neighbourly goodwill.

It’s almost identical to one that ran in a Sunday edition of the New York Times newspaper last month.

“America’s desire to effectively balance strong environmental policy, clean technology development, energy security and plentiful job opportunities for the middle class and returning war veterans mirrors that of the people of Alberta,” reads an advanced copy of the April 9 advertisement.

“This is why choosing to approve Keystone XL and oil from a neighbour, ally, friend, and responsible energy developer is the choice of reason.”

Barton noted new online ads, which are slated to run on political news sites — such as National Journal, Politico and Roll Call — will contribute to reaching an audience of more than 1.5 million people.

Advanced copies of the ads, obtained by the Herald on Saturday, tout industry restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, government funding for clean technology projects and vast stretches of protected land in Alberta’s oilsands.

“Blessed with natural resource. And a conscience,” read all three versions of the online ads.

Chris Sands, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think-tank, expressed skepticism and characterized the Tory government’s sales pitch as a “teardrop in an ocean of political communication.”

“We’re bombarded by political ads from everybody all the time,” Sands said, in an interview from Washington.

“They just sort of wash over you.”

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels a day of Alberta oilsands bitumen through many states to the world’s largest refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Calgary-based TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., the company behind the 1,800-kilometre oil pipeline, has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists and their supporters. Opponents say it’s fostering new fossil fuel consumption from the oilsands, which they believe is dirty oil with high greenhouse gas emissions.

On Sunday, a coalition of Keystone opponents launched a new national TV ad campaign, hitting many of the U.S. morning talk shows. The “All Risk, No Reward” coalition membership includes faith groups, environmental advocates, and landowners along the proposed pipeline route.

The U.S. Senate has previously backed construction on the pipeline, but a final decision must come from U.S. President Barack Obama, who has twice rejected the $7-billion project.

Sands questioned the Redford government’s decision to keep Keystone XL in the news when a likely favourable ruling on its fate is expected in coming weeks. It could, he warned, stir up pre-presidential election debates that pit environmentalists against pipeline proponents who say it’ll boost a sagging economy.

“If we go back to the rhetoric of that period it’s going to be harder for the president to make a low-key decision to move forward,” said Sands, an expert on Canada-U.S. business and economic relations.

“There’s a chance, not a guarantee, that would be one of the effects of advertising that way at this time.”

On Monday, Redford begins her three-day trip in Washington. It’s her second trip to the U.S capital in two months. She will be joined by Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations Cal Dallas and Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Diana McQueen.

In addition to meeting with legislators and administration officials on both sides of the Keystone debate, Redford will speak at the Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution.

The entire cost of the mission is $34,000.

NDP Leader Brian Mason contended the Tory government should step up its environmental performance instead of trying to “convince the Americans that everything is rosy.”

While the ad boasts Alberta “was the first place in North America to legally require all large industry to curb greenhouse gas emissions,” Mason pointed to the Tory government’s acknowledgment it’s not close to meeting targets for reducing carbon emissions.

The province committed to slashing emissions by 50 megatonnes a year by 2020 but has averaged about 10 per cent of that since 2007.

“It’s extremely misleading if not false in describing Alberta’s environmental record,” Mason said of the New York Times advertisement.

With files from Darcy Henton and Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald

Republished from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/alberta/Province+pushes+Keystone+pipeline+with+another/8207735/story.html

More options for crude export in Canada may help Keystone XL’s case in U.S., consultant says

12 Apr

By Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal April 9, 2013

EDMONTON – The push for tougher greenhouse-gas rules in Canada and plans for a new crude pipeline to Atlantic Canada may help make the case for the Keystone XL pipeline, says a Washington-based energy consultant.

In a research note, Robert Johnston of the Eurasia Group, said he expects approval of the northern leg of the Keystone XL between Alberta and Nebraska by late summer, despite the recent spill of Alberta heavy crude in Arkansas, which has been highlighted by critics of the proposed Keystone line.

Johnston said the bitumen spill on the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline “created significant headline risk and could generate further delays” for U.S. federal approval. But this is balanced by recent proposals for stricter greenhouse-gas emission rules in Canada which are being pushed by the Alberta government, and further progress on TransCanada’s proposed “Energy East” pipeline which will deliver oilsands output to Atlantic Canada.

Johnston noted the Arkansas spill “has driven a strong response by the environmental community in Washington, which is virtually united in opposing Keystone XL.” He adds the spill “is being used to re-engage the administration following public comments by President (Barack) Obama in San Francisco last week that were interpreted as more favourable for Keystone XL approval.”

Johnston notes the Keystone will have a number of new “smart” systems to detect and respond to leaks, and will be built with better materials than those used in the 60-year-old Pegasus pipeline.

And the push for an eastern outlet, with TransCanada’s plans to convert one of its underused natural gas pipelines to carry crude and extend the line from Montreal to Saint John, N.B., with its large Irving refinery, has shown there is another option to Keystone XL.

That, in combination with Enbridge’s plans to reverse its existing line to Montreal so western light crude can reach the Suncor refinery there, will weaken the environmentalists’ argument that stopping Keystone will halt oilsands development.

“The Keystone XL alternatives are crucial as they underpin the argument that the GHG (greenhouse gas) impact of KXL itself will be neutral, as the oilsands will be produced and brought to market with or without the KXL project,” said Johnston.

However, using rail or the TransCanada line to the east are still not the best choices for many producers, since those options will be more expensive than using the Keystone line.

Eurasia notes the 45-day comment period on the draft of the U.S. environmental impact statement is set to expire on April 22 unless it is extended. If it expires, it will take an additional one to two months to prepare the final statement, which would then have to undergo an inter-agency review of up to 90 days.

“Sources contacted by Eurasia Group are divided over whether the White House would use most or all of that time. On balance, while approval remains highly likely, timing now looks more likely to be late summer versus late spring,” said the report.

Republished from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/energy-resources/More+options+crude+export+Canada+help/8218564/story.html


Redford argues Keystone XL Controversy Obscuring Truth About Alberta’s Environmental Record

12 Apr

By Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald April 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The polarized debate over the Keystone XL pipeline and global warming overlooks the fact that you can build the pipeline and still reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be good stewards of the land, air and water, Premier Alison Redford told a Washington think tank Tuesday.

Redford told the Brookings Institution that the dialogue over approval of the 1,800-kilometre pipeline between Alberta and the U.S. gulf coast “suffers from some glaring deficiencies, which cause essential truths to be overlooked.”

“The most basic truth is that the stark choice Keystone’s opponents have put at the heart of the debate is an illusion,” the Alberta premier said on the same day the province touted Keystone’s value in the Washington Post. “Too many of the arguments deployed against Keystone are far too far from reality. They proclaim that either you stand against the oilsands, or you write off the environment, along with any hope for a sustainable existence.That is completely wrong.

Redford, who met with Canadian ambassador Gary Doer Tuesday morning on the first day of her two-day visit to D.C., said Albertans want to be responsible stewards of their natural resources.

She said Alberta is home to some of the most environmentally friendly, progressive legislation in the world.

“You wouldn’t know that from the clamor of the debate,” she said. “We have nothing to hide, because the facts are on our side.”

The oilsands contribute 21 per cent of Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions, seven per cent of Canada’s emissions, and less than 0.15 percent of the global total, Redford told the gathering.

She added the Canadian oilsands, in total, produce less greenhouse gas emissions than the electric power plants in Ohio, in Indiana, and even less than the agricultural state of Iowa.

Redford noted that Alberta became the first jurisdiction in North America to require large industry to curb greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 and is reviewing its climate change policy to make it even stronger.

She said that since 1990, Alberta’s energy industry has reduced greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil produced by an average of 29 per cent, with some some facilities achieving reductions as high as 50 per cent.

Alberta’s coal-fired power plants have lowered their emissions by an amount equivalent to taking roughly 240,000 cars off the road, the premier added.

“We will close up to a dozen of our older plants over the next 17 years, so we can replace them with cleaner alternatives,” she said.

She said her government is providing $1.3 billion in funding for two large-scale carbon capture and sequestration projects, but didn’t mention that funding for two other programs has been cancelled due to poor economics.

“Alberta has a strong record to defend, a very persuasive case to make, and an undeniable need to make it,” she said. “The facts need to be on the table during the debate over Keystone.”

“We are a responsible energy producer looking to develop and market our resources in a sustainable and thoughtful way, to the benefit of both buyer and seller. That’s really the story.”

Redford said that while there’s much talk now in the United States about energy independence in the U.S., the only realistic way to see that is in terms of North American energy independence — integration between the two countries.

She pointed out almost 30 per cent of U.S. oil imports now come from Canada.

“Without Canada’s almost two million barrels per day from the oilsands, there is no prospect of North American energy independence,” she said. “It makes economic and environmental sense to get that energy from a trusted partner.”

She said more than 900 American companies supply oilsands firms with equipment, parts and services.

Keystone XL would add an estimated $6.9 billion per year to the U.S. economy over the next 25 years, and create or preserve more than 75,000 American jobs, Redford explained.

“Canadians would like to see a level playing field in the debate over Keystone XL,” she said. “The opponents of Keystone are, in effect, tilting the playing field in favor of Venezuela, which would be the biggest beneficiary in the absence of Keystone.”

Redford said Venezuela’s oil has the same carbon footprint, but the country doesn’t have the environmental policies and commitment that Alberta has.

She said Alberta has other options and that includes selling on the global market.

“We know that the developing world is thirsty for our energy,” Redford said. “I’ve been to China twice, and I’ll be leading another trade delegation there later this year, along with one to India. But it’s Keystone that offers the US the most direct and tangible rewards.”

Republished from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Alberta+Premier+Alison+Redford+argues+Keystone/8217845/story.html


Alberta Premier Lobbying for Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington

12 Apr

April 9, 2013


Alberta Premier Alison Redford meets with Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the United States (second from the right) in Washington on Tuesday. Redford was joined by Environment and Sustainable Resource Minister Diana McQueen and International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas. Alberta Premier Alison Redford meets with Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States (second from the right) in Washington on Tuesday. Redford was joined by Environment and Sustainable Resource Minister Diana McQueen and International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Cal Dallas. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)


Alberta Premier Alison Redford appears to be looking to Congress for support of the Keystone XL pipeline in what could prove to be an end-run around U.S. President Barack Obama.

Redford is in Washington today where she met with Canada’s ambassador, Gary Doer.

During a photo op at the Canadian embassy, Doer waved toward the Capitol while stating that 62 senators had, in principle, voted for what the ambassador called “our favourite project.”

A March congressional vote, which supported the building of Keystone with 17 Democrats onside, was interpreted by some as a move toward taking away Obama’s presidential permit for the pipeline.

Another bill is currently before Congress that would explicitly remove the presidential permit and put the decision in the hands of pro-pipeline U.S. senators.

On Wednesday, Redford will meet with members of Congress to pitch the pipeline’s importance to the Canadian and U.S. economies, but her staff won’t yet say who she’s meeting.

Republished from CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/04/09/edmonton-redford-washington-keystone.html?cmp=rss


Did the Exxon Spill in Mayflower Just Sink Keystone XL?

6 Apr

Jamie Henn – April 4, 2013

If President Obama rejects the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, Big Oil executives are likely to look back at last weekend’s tar sands spill in Mayflower, Arkansas as a key reason for their defeat.

In a rational world, President Obama would have rejected the Keystone XL pipeline long ago. The nation’s top climate scientists have declared it an environmental disaster, over 800,000 Americans have written the Senate and State Department opposing the project, more than 40,000 recently descended on Washington, DC to push for a rejection. Time Magazine has called Keystone XL the “Selma and Stonewall” of the environmental movement for good reason: more people have gone to jail and rallied in the streets over the pipeline than any other environmental issue in the last decade.

But it’s the images of tar sands oil submerging backyards, flowing down driveways, and contaminating entire streets of the Mayflower subdivision that may finally dramatize all the risks that come with Keystone XL. The ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower carried about 90,000 barrels of tar sands a day, about 1/10th of tar sands that would flow through Keystone XL. Take the Mayflower spill, times it by ten, and superimpose it over one of our largest sources of fresh drinking water, the Ogallala Aquifer, and you’ll begin to get an idea of what a spill from Keystone XL would look like: a BP style disaster on land.


It was pictures like those coming out of Mayflower that helped fuel the last great surge of environmental activism in the late 1960s that led to the first Earth Day and the passage of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Then, it was the Cuyahoga River catching on fire, the massive oil spill off of Santa Barbara, and other local disasters that brought the “pollution crisis” to public consciousness. Now, it’s pictures of climate catastrophes like last summer’s massive wildfires in Colorado or the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, and videos of fossil fuel disasters like the Mayflower spill or last year’s tar sands spill in Kalamazoo River, that are causing people to connect the dots between the new extreme energy rush and the ever worsening climate crisis.


This April 18, the State Department will host its one public comment hearing in Nebraska on the latest supplemental environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, a review that was widely criticized by environmental groups and experts as seriously flawed and inadequate. 350.org is working with our allies to submit over 1,000,000 public comments and our friends at BOLD Nebraska are helping organize hundreds of farmers, ranchers, and landowners who will testify in person. Their words (and yours if you submit a comment) will make a difference – the State Department is required by law to count and review every comment submitted. But perhaps it’s the images out of places like Mayflower that will speak louder than all those words.

We’ve been given just a small glimpse of what our fossil fuel addicted future could look like: more spills, more climate disasters, more communities put at risk for industry profits. It’s a future that we, and President Obama, can and should reject. It doesn’t have to be this way. After all, as our friend Van Jones says, “You know what they call a solar spill? A sunny day.”

Republished from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-henn/mayflower-oil-spill_b_3016242.html


Arkansas Spill Shows ‘Nightmare Scenario’ if Keystone Approved, Group Warns

6 Apr

By The Canadian Press – April 2, 2013

Arkansas spill shows ‘nightmare scenario’ if Keystone approved, group warns (with video)

Crude oil from a ruptured pipeline spills into a drainage ditch leading into Lake Conway in Mayflower, Ark. Residents may be displaced for weeks, officials said, as crews continued to clean up the thousands of barrels of oil and water.

Photograph by: Alan English , AP/The Log Cabin Democrat

CALGARY — A crude oil leak from an ExxonMobil pipeline in Arkansas comes at a particularly bad time for the Canadian company looking to build the contentious Keystone XL pipeline through the American heartland.

TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) hopes it is in the home stretch of a years-long process to win U.S. government approval for its multibillion-dollar project, which has been assailed by environmental groups for its potential impact on everything from fresh water sources to climate change.

The spill from ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline is likely the last thing TransCanada needed, with the U.S. State Department being months away from issuing a final decision on Keystone XL after repeated delays, said Queen’s University professor Warren Mabee.

“I think that just is another set of bad publicity that Keystone is going to have to overcome,” said Mabee, director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at the university in Kingston, Ont.

“As we move towards a decision, this just becomes another hurdle for a new project to overcome — the idea that maybe these pipelines aren’t as safe as they’re made out to be.”

The leak from the Pegasus pipeline in no way changes the facts around the safety of Keystone XL, said Mabee, yet “politically, this is a big problem.”

“If it was purely down to the facts, the decision would come down easily on the side of the Keystone. That project would be approved,” said Mabee.

“If you have a president or a State Department that is looking for excuses to either put this project on hold or to justify cancelling it, this works right into that argument, unfortunately.”

Jim Murphy, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation, said the Pegasus spill serves as a “sad illustration” of the risks associated with oil pipelines.

“I think it certainly highlights the nightmare scenario that’s playing out in a lot of minds along the (Keystone XL) route,” he said.

In Arkansas, it doesn’t appear at this point that the oil has reached any nearby water sources, said Murphy.

“We certainly hope there’s no impact to water, but the fact that this much oil was able to spill so near important water bodies I think really indicates that if that oil doesn’t reach water bodies, it’s more luck than anything else.”

Pegasus carries 96,000 barrels per day from Patoka, Ill. — a major destination for Canadian crude, including that from the oilsands — to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Keystone XL would dwarf that in size, with an initial capacity of 830,000 barrels per day.

ExxonMobil says as of Sunday, some 12,000 barrels had been recovered and crews continue to work on the cleanup.

Nearly three years ago, a major spill from an Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) pipeline in southern Michigan fouled parts of the Kalamazoo River.

Although the NWF has been pushing for stronger pipeline safety regulations and response procedures, Murphy says those projects should not be built at all.

“We still have not changed our bottom line that tarsands oil is too risky and is just too destructive a fuel source for us to be developing and transporting.”

TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard called the Pegasus leak an “unfortunate circumstance” that “demonstrates the pipeline industry must continue to focus on the safe, reliable operation of its energy infrastructure.”

“The fact remains that pipelines are the safest way to move oil and other products to markets to meet consumer demands and maintain our quality of life,” he said.

“TransCanada plans on building the most advanced, state-of-the-art pipeline that has been built to date using the latest technology, highest strength steel and most modern welding techniques.”

He said 57 new safety procedures, including remotely controlled shutoff valves and increased pipe inspections, should instill further confidence that Keystone XL will be operated safely.

The $5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline would carry crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest and Nebraska, connecting with another $2.3-billion pipeline currently under construction between Oklahoma and the Texas. Those two pipelines were initially part of one project, but TransCanada decided to tackle them separately when Washington rejected its earlier proposal last year.

TransCanada refiled a new application with a reworked route through Nebraska, where there were concerns pipeline construction could damage a fragile ecosystem of grass-covered sand dunes and threaten a major aquifer.

A draft environmental report from the State Department last month flagged no major issues with the rejigged route. It will issue a final report after a comment period.

Republished from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/energy-resources/Arkansas+spill+shows+nightmare+scenario/8178079/story.html