TransCanada Quietly Reapplies, Keystone XL Pipeline Planned On Original Schedule

We live in an age of zombie environmental nightmares, and the Keystone XL pipeline, slated to transport tar sands, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, from Canada to Texas, has just risen from the dead to resume its glazed-eyed walk across our landscape, defying tradition by crossing and endangering an estimated 101 bodies of water. Here are a few details from MarketWatch:

TORONTO -(MarketWatch)- TransCanada Corp. TRP -1.29% said Friday that it resubmitted an application for a U.S. permit for its controversial Keystone XL oil-pipeline expansion, rejected by the White House earlier this year after it became a political flashpoint ahead of this year’s presidential election.

The Calgary-based pipeline company said it will supplement its application, which was submitted to the U.S. Department of State, with a proposed, alternative route in Nebraska as soon as that route is selected. Nebraska became the focal point of some of the most vocal opposition to the line.

TransCanada has long maintained it planned to resubmit its application. U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the line after Republican lawmakers imposed an early deadline on the decision, part of a broader tax compromise with the president.

The reapplication doesn’t likely change the timing of an ultimate decision on the project. The White House said it would welcome a resubmission, but because of the time required to process and review a new application, a decision isn’t expected until after the November presidential elections.

Read the rest, if you have the stomach. Remember, this is from an investment web site; don’t expect much in the way of politics, either pro‑environment or pro‑fossil‑fuels. I chose it specifically for that reason.

Whatever Obama’s virtues… the primary one being that he is not Mitt Romney, and one of the two of them will be president next year… he’s always been a lover of fossil fuels. Remember how easily BP got off from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that effectively wrecked the Gulf Coast… Obama seems ready to let drilling companies go at it again. (There are a few conspiracy theories on the web that I do not believe: Obama, not a creature of malice, is simply a pro-business Republican-style president who isn’t going to let a massive Gulf-destroying oil spill get in the way of further drilling. Back in the day, his biggest sin was regulatory negligence.)

But Obama has another flaw… or virtue, depending on how you look at it: like most other politicians, he loves to look good to the public. Our task is to keep the pressure on him to do what he’s disinclined to do… reject Keystone XL’s permit application… especially after the election if Obama wins. (I consider the matter hopeless if Rmoney wins… there’s no pro-environment Richard Nixon in that man!)

What can you do? Try writing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (email: Find a petition and sign it; e.g., CREDO has one going here. Lather Reince; repeat… um, I mean, lather, rinse, repeat, several times between now and elections… and again, louder, after elections, if Obama wins.

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  • upyernoz  On Friday May 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “[Keystone] has just risen from the dead to resume its glazed-eyed walk across our landscape”

    it wasn’t really dead, just resting.

    here’s my understanding of what happened:

    -the president had to decide whether to okay or stop the keystone XL project. the oil industry wanted it to be built, and so did organized labor. the administration signaled that it would probably approve the project, but environmental groups rallied their troops to stop it. trapped between two groups that are critical for any democratic president’s re-election (labor and environmental groups), the president announced he would make no decision about the project until 2013 when further environmental impact studies could be completed–i.e. after the election. in order words, he didn’t reject the project, he just punted it down the road.

    -the GOP tried to make hay out of the president’s decision by tying it to higher gas prices. when the president insisted that he hadn’t actually rejected the project, just delayed it by a year. so the GOP attached a rider to a bill they knew the president would sign requiring him to make an up or down decision by february 2012. they figured the president would probably reject the project, but even if he approve it, that would piss off the environmentalists in his base going into the election season. and if he rejected it, then they would piss off labor and the oil industry, and give the GOP more ammunition for their claim that he was responsible for high gas prices.

    -the president said he wouldn’t play. he officially rejected the project for the purpose of the GOP bill, but in making the announcement of his official rejection, he noted that he would revisit the issue in early 2013, after the environmental studies were completed. in order words, the president explicitly said that he wasn’t really rejecting the project. he was just not willing to approve it at that time. which meant the president was really just trying to delay the hard decision again until after the election.

    -the GOP nevertheless insisted that the president had rejected the pipeline, and thus was responsible for $4/gallon gas

    so this reapplication is not surprising. TransCanada is hoping that the president will ultimately approve the project when he reconsiders next year. and the company might be right. all obama seems to want to do is avoid the issue until after november. if i had to put my money somewhere, i would bet he will ultimately approve it.

    • Steve  On Friday May 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      ‘noz, as usual, I find no fault in your analysis; I can only add a couple of things that I think should be considered.

      First, regarding organized labor (please recall, I was a dedicated union member for decades until I retired from musical performance because of my disability): as far as I can tell, the major unions have been bamboozled into believing that the pipeline would involve many years of sustained union contract labor, while I’ve been told the reality is that such projects take about 10 years and there is very little spin-off after that period.

      Second, as to the gas availability, like the whole business of drilling in ANWR that is such a dream of the oil companies, there just isn’t that much useful oil in tar sands to have any material effect on gasoline availability.

      Finally, regarding gas prices, as I am sure you know and as Krugman reminds us every few weeks, oil is an international market, and demand from former third-world nations is increasing rapidly as they enter their various periods of intense manufacturing (think: America in the 19th century). Inevitably, America has a new competitor for the purchase of all that oil, so the price goes up. No one here has any external control over the level of oil prices. So, as usual, the GOPers are fucked in the head… but also as usual, they know that a good lie is worth two good truths in the political arena.

      It is the task of environmentalists and their org’s to push hard against things that sustain fossil fuel use into the extended future. It is my best guess that we will see adverse climate effects in the US in between one and two decades, maybe sooner. In any case, if we don’t start moving toward serious alternative energy sources now, we won’t make the deadline, by which I mean the time that more than half of Houston is underwater all year round. (OTOH, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing… 😈 ) For our sake, for your sake and especially for ‘noz jr’s sake, we have to make the change.

      Personal efforts can help. E.g., Stella loves to run the A/C a lot, and I’m in no position to stop her (trust me on that!). So I signed us up for an electric plan that is 100% wind power. It is only a tiny fraction of a cent per kwh more expensive than the nuke power that supplies most of Houston, and that difference will vanish in a couple of years. The next challenge: our vehicles… that one’s more difficult. Personally I just don’t drive as much, organizing my trips to cover multiple errands on the same trip. Eventually we will have to do better, but I’m taking it one thing (or a dozen) at a time…

      AFTERTHOUGHT: when I did contract work for a few years in the “awl bidness,” I spent a couple of years in a department of about 30 people… of whom two (2) were Democrats, or at least would admit to it. The rest were loudly Republican and suffered nothing in their careers for being so and speaking of it at work. Your notion that the oil industry is a critical constituency for a Democratic politician is strange to me; it doesn’t match the reality I’ve seen up close.

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