Will John Kerry Kill the Keystone XL Pipeline?

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When new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Friday with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird in Washington, the talk turned to the fate of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Kerry said the controversial $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline project would undergo a "fair and transparent review," adding he expects to make a decision "near-term" on whether to move forward with it. The State Department has final say over the pipeline because it traverses international borders.

According to a department spokeswoman, a decision is likely at the end of March. But Reuters reported an unidentified U.S. official said the decision could be pushed back until June.

Canada is committed to the pipeline, and Baird lobbied hard for it during the meeting with Kerry. After the meeting, Baird called the Keystone XL pipeline a "huge priority."

Who Supports the Keystone XL Pipeline Project in U.S.?

Congressional Republicans also support the pipeline, saying it would benefit the United States by creating jobs, raising local revenue, ensuring a more consistent energy supply and improving America's energy independence.

The Keystone pipeline project is projected to bring $20 billion in private-sector investments to the American economy, create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 spinoff jobs, and pay out some $5 billion in taxes to local counties over the project's duration.

"Our economy can no longer be put on hold while the bureaucratic process you set in motion jeopardizes this critical project," Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said in an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of Friday's meeting.

The U.S. is the world's largest energy user and over the past decade has consumed approximately 18 million barrels per day of petroleum products.

Canada is the largest source of U.S. oil imports and is embraced as a stable and secure energy partner.

America's north-of-the-border neighbor has and will continue to help the U.S. reduce its dependence on energy supplies from unfriendly nations like Venezuela and some Middle Eastern countries. The Keystone pipeline aims to get Canadian oil to the U.S. faster, cheaper and more efficiently.

Supporters point out that the Keystone XL pipeline project has undergone thorough and comprehensive review.

Parent company TransCanda has agreed to comply with 57 additional special conditions developed for the project by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Why do Environmentalists Oppose Pipeline?

Environmental advocates have been highly critical of the project, saying it threatens natural resources.

The original Keystone XL pipeline, which has been operating since 2010, is a 2,151-mile pipeline transporting Canadian crude oil to Cushing, OK, the Midwest oil hub.

The extension, which has been under construction and in discussions since 2011, would pass through North Dakota and South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.

The pipeline's expansion was halted in January 2012 after President Obama rejected the expansion application, calling for further review amid protests from scores of environmentalists concerned about its impact on the environment.

Some 60 environmental groups wrote in a Feb. 6 letter to Kerry, "This pipeline is not in our national interest – the evidence shows it would unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we cannot afford to burn, extend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels, endanger health and safety, and put critical water resources at risk."

The Environmental Protection Agency found the pipeline poses "no significant impacts" to the majority of resources if environmental protection measures are followed.

Some say the Keystone pipeline decision will be a test of President Obama's position on climate change.

In his first post-election press conference, the president endorsed scientific consensus on global warming, acknowledging the importance of the issue. He admitted he's not done enough and vowed to explore how to reduce carbons.

And Kerry has expressed regret that he wasn't able to get climate-change legislation passed during 30 years in the Senate.

Kerry reiterated his pledge to confront climate change as an extension of U.S. foreign policy when he was confirmed secretary of state last month and he will play a pivotal role in the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.

>>For more on this hotly debated project, read Why Environmentalists Want the Keystone XL Pipeline Dead.

>>Next up in energy investing: Why Gas Prices Will Continue to Climb.

>>And don't miss Buy Signal: Top Hedge Funds Are Moving Into Energy.

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  1. Robert in Canada | February 11, 2013

    It is absolutely ridiculous to say Keystone or the Canadian Oil Sands are destroying the environment or causing "climate change".

    Those myths have been created by people for the purpose of making money. For example Al Gore's fictional movie and his CO2 trading business (Goldman Sachs are his partners) are making him hundreds of millions.

    And all of the silly enviro-nut protesters are Gore's brainwashed dupes, except for the few leaders of the enviro-hysteria-movement who also make big money from the CO2 scam.

    • grassroot | February 12, 2013

      Exactly, this is just another tool used by the
      radical left to level this country's position in the
      world and bring us under the control of a, " one
      world government."

    • Karl B. Hensel | February 17, 2013

      O:k then,
      Lets take a peek at the real numbers according to Canada. the project would in fact create 20 thousand jobs in the U.S. Yes, for a few years only. Then it will be scaled way back to a team that will be in charge of keeping together. Let me get this right now. The integrity of inferior sized over pressured pipeline that will be carrying a toxic substance that to date has no viable means of containment or clean-up if and when a rupture occurs. The question you may be asking is am I a tree hugger? The answer would be NO as trees are replanted double for every one harvested. This is called being responsible. This project is dangerous to our soil. It is dangerous to our water supply. I know. Lets run the pipeline through the most elite neighborhoods in the country. After all. Look at all the jobs and revenues it will create for the already wealthy. You will never find a dump. A chemical storage or toxic dump in an upscale neighborhood. You will not find high power lines running through Beverly Hills or Boston etc. Why is that? Maybe it is because they do not want their children developing cancer, tumors or other deadly deceases and disorders. Ask the Canadian citizens about the oil sands projects. They hate them. they want no part of it. The oil will not stay here. You are a bold face liar and I am calling you on it! You will not have the guts to publish this. We are not talking the Bakken field shale oil reserves here. You are talking about taking sludge of high density that contains the most toxic form of oil and using higher pressure to force it through thinner walled pipelines because it saved the oil company money in using thinner material and pumping it across our nation with no means of cleaning it up . You my friend are either ignorant or so Republican you believe in trickle down economics still.
      Do your homework!
      I despise amateurs even though I am considered one in the supposed world of journalism.
      Say hell no to the Keystone.

  2. clancy | February 11, 2013

    bulldozing forest the size of Florida. What are you trying to do Canada? Get rid of all oxygen and kill us all?

    • jeff kay | February 13, 2013

      OMG, more like some oily scrub brush in an area the the size of Miami. And its frozen 7 months of the year! This area is a huge non diverse, monolithic, land mass of which only a small percentage is effected by mining. The perfect feedstock for energy requirements. Burning an acre of rainforest would cause more harm to the environment.

    • Robert in Canada | February 16, 2013

      After an area is mined it is put back to it's original condition including the original soil that was there, trees, weeds, marshes, insects, everything.

      The fact is that soil in the oil sands areas is completely polluted with heavy oil and bitumen. Mother Nature put the oil in the soil, Canadians are just removing the oil and putting everything back the way it was.

      Oil sands projects are just big soil re-claimation projects that would normally be supported by enviro-groups.

      But enviro-groups get millions of dollars from OPEC countries who do not want to lose their biggest customer (the USA) due to Canada's oil. So the well paid enviro-groups follow orders and block Canada's oil from going to the USA.

  3. JOhn | February 12, 2013

    The problem really isn't the pipeline, it is what it takes to actually extract the oil. This should be a wakeup call for America and the world, but sadly, for most people, the status quo wears future blinders…

  4. Jeff Pluim | February 12, 2013

    The hysterical comments such as Clancy's comment about bulldozing the forest, reflect the general ignorance of the environmental protection steps that are taken on those sites, including reclamation of the mined areas. Alberta has some of the toughest environmental legislation in the entire world.
    The XL pipeline, whether approved or not, will not stop those oil reserves from being developed. The oil will either be sold to the the USA or China or Europe. If the U.S. does not want the oil, then current plans for the pipeline to Kitimat, which will eventually be approved and completed, and the reversing of pipelines to the east coast of Canada to the refinery in Saint John, Canada's largest refinery, will mean that the oil just goes to other buyers in Europe or China. I suspect that the hold up of the approval of the XL pipeline by American politicians is because they feel that they have Canada over a barrel and that Canada won't be able to export their oil to anyone else. And since Canada is now forced to sell their oil to the U.S. at a rate which is $40 below Brent Crude pricing, the U.S. is benefitting from the lower priced oil. Don't count on that lasting because Canadians will remember this when they are able to get Brent pricing in the future, and they will be less inclined to sell to America at the reduced WTI price.

  5. Thomas Bachand | February 12, 2013

    The EPA has not reviewed the project. In fact, USACE approval of a Nationwide Permit 12 for the Gulf Coast segment, purposely excluded EPA review. Neither TransCanada Corporation nor the U.S. Department of State have been forthcoming with the project’s GIS information. This has made it impossible to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline. Thus far, only the pro-bono Keystone Mapping Project provides the public with detailed route information. http://keystone.steamingmules.com

  6. Leslie Belden | February 12, 2013

    Oil going through Keyston XL will go via the Texas Gulf to China.

    • robert | February 12, 2013

      Exactly correct. We are already shipping refined product overseas from Texas refineries. People have the idea that the pipeline will reduce USA gas prices, but any effect on gas prices will be minor. The differentail between US and and foreign gasoline wholesale prices will be just the shipping cost to get it from the US to the foreign market. The market is global for liquid products, now.

    • William Mullenberg | February 12, 2013

      Economist have also stated the same thing but the price in china would be 2.5 to 3 times higher than our price. They don't expect it to lower our price of fuel but to stabilize it for at least 8 years. We could pay an average of 3.50 for unleaded year around.

  7. William Mullenberg | February 12, 2013

    "The pipeline operator will also be responsible for taking out $200 million in liability insurance to cover its financial responsibilities in case of a spill." along with the route change has put me in their corner. At first they were ridged with their proposal which brought out all the hard nosed extremest by the droves. I don't think the route change was necessary if thin wall ware resistant pipe wasn't proposed. Since pipelines aren't straight to allow for expansion they constantly move surface hardened pipe or and hard metal alloys without nickel, which is to expensive, have fractures softer alloys don't have. There are liners for pipe that don't have to be welded and epoxies with high ware particles that can add to the life and strength of a thick wall pipeline cheaper than rerouting. If they had laid all these options on the table back at the inception it might be 20% done with the economy starting to flourish.

    • Karl B. Hensel | February 17, 2013

      Wow! 200 million dollars. How much will it cost to clean up a spill? Simple. Zero, they can not clean it up. Nice job big oil. Look at the Michigan spill. Nada! No can clean mister.

  8. Bill | February 14, 2013

    Please do not put the pipeline in. I have made great money in buying rail car shares and rail
    stock. How could we think of putting in something that is better for the environment than having a 1,000 railcars per day of 600 barrels of oil or more with smaller tanker cars. What a deal and expected to grow maybe past 1 mm barrels per day. Lets not be efficient. It is the political way. Besides nothing can happen with so much oil being transported each day, right.

  9. Belioniblaster | February 17, 2013

    Hey I've got an idea. Let's start driving more efficient cars , save money and the environment at the same time.!! No? You're right. It's too simple , would never work.

  10. John | February 17, 2013

    Kerry is only delaying so he is helping the middle east. There no reason for this not to be a GO

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