• Nov 11, 2011
After spending several years carefully reviewing the application from TransCanada for the permit necessary to run its Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to the refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Department of State has finally announced a decision. It has decided not to decide right now, saying it will wait until 2013 to decide, so it can spend more quality time examining routing options around certain environmentally sensitive parts of the Sand Hills area of Nebraska.

As one might imagine, the decision, or non-decision if you prefer, is being received differently by different people. Some of those opposed to the project are, perhaps prematurely, celebrating a final victory, taking comfort in earlier statements from TransCanada officials that any delay in the permitting process would kill the pipeline. Others, both in favor and opposed, are reacting with cynicism, suspecting the delay is a political ploy meant to gain votes in the November 2012 presidential election.

Those in favor of the project are, of course, disappointed and quick to accuse the Obama administration of squandering job opportunities and diminishing energy security. For its part, TransCanada is putting a brave face on the situation with its CEO Russ Girling stating, "We remain confident Keystone XL will ultimately be approved."

While we can take some small comfort that this incredibly carbon-intensive, environmentally-destructive fuel won't be flowing at its maximum rate for a couple more years, there still seems to be a sad inevitability to the project. The technological breakthroughs needed to make this energy source a thing of the past can't come soon enough.

Make your way past the break for the official announcement from the State Department and the responding press statement by TransCanada. For a nice calm analysis of the situation and the decision/non-decision, the documents are accompanied by a video from PBS Newshour addressing the situation.



Show full PR text
Keystone XL Pipeline Project Review Process: Decision to Seek Additional Information

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 10, 2011

Executive Order 13337 authorizes the Department of State to lead the review of Presidential Permit applications for transborder pipelines, granting the Department discretion in determining what factors to examine to inform a determination of whether the proposed project is in the national interest. Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough and rigorous review of TransCanada's application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, the Department has determined it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska.

As part of the National Interest Determination process, the State Department held a public comment period, including public meetings in the six potentially affected states and Washington, D.C., to increase the opportunity for public comments. During this time, the Department also received input from state, local, and tribal officials. We received comments on a wide range of issues including the proposed project's impact on jobs, pipeline safety, health concerns, the societal impact of the project, the oil extraction in Canada, and the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, which was one of the most common issues raised. The comments were consistent with the information in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about the unique combination of characteristics in the Sand Hills (which includes a high concentration of wetlands of special concern, a sensitive ecosystem, and extensive areas of very shallow groundwater) and provided additional context and information about those characteristics. The concern about the proposed route's impact on the Sand Hills of Nebraska has increased significantly over time, and has resulted in the Nebraska legislature convening a special session to consider the issue.

State law primarily governs routes for interstate petroleum pipelines; however, Nebraska currently has no such law or regulatory framework authorizing state or local authorities to determine where a pipeline goes. Taken together with the national concern about the pipeline's route, the Department has determined it is necessary to examine in-depth alternative routes that would avoid the Sand Hills in Nebraska in order to move forward with a National Interest Determination for the Presidential Permit.

Based on the Department's experience with pipeline project reviews and the time typically required for environmental reviews of similar scope by other agencies, it is reasonable to expect that this process including a public comment period on a supplement to the final EIS consistent with NEPA could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013. After obtaining the additional information, the Department would determine, in consultation with the eight other agencies identified in the Executive Order, whether the proposed pipeline was in the national interest, considering all of the relevant issues together. Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.



PRESS RELEASE

TransCanada to Work with Department of State on New Keystone XL Route Options

CALGARY, Alberta - November 10, 2011 - TransCanada Corporation (TSX, NYSE: TRP) (TransCanada) has spoken with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and will have conversations with the DOS in the coming days to discuss next steps. The company has been informed further analysis of route options for the Keystone XL pipeline need to be investigated, with a specific focus on the Sandhills in Nebraska. The Department of State said in its news release the review could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013.

"We remain confident Keystone XL will ultimately be approved," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "This project is too important to the U.S. economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed."

But Girling acknowledges while Keystone XL remains the best option for American and Canadian producers to get their oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast, today's announcement by the DOS could have potential negative ramifications, especially where shippers and U.S. refiners are concerned.

"Supplies of heavy crude from Venezuela and Mexico to U.S. refineries will soon end," said Girling. "If Keystone XL is continually delayed, these refiners may have to look for other ways of getting the oil they need. Oil sands producers face the same dilemma - how to get their crude oil to the Gulf Coast."

Girling points out TransCanada has worked with the State Department for the past three years to ensure Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built.

Since 2008, more than 100 open houses and public meetings in six States took place, thousands of pages of supplemental information and responses to questions were submitted to state and federal agencies and the DOS received over 300,000 comments on the project. A draft, supplemental draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement were all issued for Keystone XL - totaling over 10,000 pages. This was by far the most exhaustive and detailed review ever conducted of a crude oil pipeline in the United States.

Fourteen different routes for Keystone XL were studied, eight that impacted Nebraska. They included one potential alternative route in Nebraska that would have avoided the entire Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer and six alternatives that would have reduced pipeline mileage crossing the Sandhills or the aquifer. TransCanada hopes this work will serve as a starting point for the additional review and help expedite the review process.

The U.S. consumes 15 million barrels of oil each day and imports 10 to 11 million. Forecasts predict oil consumption will continue at these levels for the next two to three decades so a secure supply of crude oil is needed for Americans to continue to heat their homes, cook their food and drive their cars.

Keystone XL is shovel-ready. TransCanada is poised to put 20,000 Americans to work to construct the pipeline - pipe fitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators, the list goes on. Local businesses along the pipeline route will benefit from the 118,000 spin-off jobs Keystone XL will create through increased business for local restaurants, hotels and suppliers.

Five billion dollars in property taxes paid by TransCanada over the lifetime of the project will allow counties in States along the pipeline route to invest in new schools, roads and hospitals.

"If Keystone XL dies, Americans will still wake up the next morning and continue to import 10 million barrels of oil from repressive nations, without the benefit of thousands of jobs and long term energy security," concluded Girling. "That would be a tragedy."

With more than 60 years experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure including natural gas and oil pipelines, power generation and gas storage facilities. TransCanada's network of wholly owned natural gas pipelines extends more than 57,000 kilometres (35,500 miles), tapping into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. TransCanada is one of the continent's largest providers of gas storage and related services with approximately 380 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. A growing independent power producer, TransCanada owns, or has interests in, over 10,800 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States. TransCanada is developing one of North America's largest oil delivery systems. TransCanada's common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol TRP. For more information visit: www.transcanada.com and follow us on Twitter @TransCanada.

Forward-Looking Information
This news release may contain certain information that is forward-looking and is subject to important risks and uncertainties. The words "anticipate", "expect", "believe", "may", "should", "estimate", "project", "outlook", "forecast" or other similar words are used to identify such forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements in this document are intended to provide TransCanada security holders and potential investors with information regarding TransCanada and its subsidiaries, including management's assessment of TransCanada's and its subsidiaries' future financial and operational plans and outlook. Forward-looking statements in this document may include, among others, statements regarding the anticipated business prospects, projects and financial performance of TransCanada and its subsidiaries, expectations or projections about the future, strategies and goals for growth and expansion, expected and future cash flows, costs, schedules (including anticipated construction and completion dates), operating and financial results and expected impact of future commitments and contingent liabilities, including future abandonment costs. All forward-looking statements reflect TransCanada's beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the statements were made. Actual results or events may differ from those predicted in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among others, the ability of TransCanada to successfully implement its strategic initiatives and whether such strategic initiatives will yield the expected benefits, the operating performance of the Company's pipeline and energy assets, the availability and price of energy commodities, capacity payments, regulatory processes and decisions, changes in environmental and other laws and regulations, competitive factors in the pipeline and energy sectors, construction and completion of capital projects, labour, equipment and material costs, access to capital markets, interest and currency exchange rates, technological developments and economic conditions in North America. By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to various risks and uncertainties, which could cause TransCanada's actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or expectations expressed. Additional information on these and other factors is available in the reports filed by TransCanada with Canadian securities regulators and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is given as of the date it is expressed in this news release or otherwise specified, and not to use future-oriented information or financial outlooks for anything other than their intended purpose. TransCanada undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 79 Comments
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      @me Still appreciating my 'noz has his house heated by raging anger' comment.... :D
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      obey
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Canadians have not spent themselves into oblivion, and, do not have our unemployment problem. They are actually sane. But, I just wanted to say 'eh' after saying, 'Canadian'
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's only a tiny environmental victory, as a re-route won't destroy the aquifer. Because, this pipeline will leak, it's still not spec'd for this type of sludge. And the massive carbon released thru tar sand extraction will race us to the Arctic Methane Bomb scenario.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      To HELL with the giant pipeline, the massacre of Alberta land, the POISONING of soil and groundwater, and to HELL with the Koch brothers. The Oil Industry couldn't care less about YOU, your JOB, and it wipes its rear end on you.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Deep breath... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXSOD1N5lR4&feature=youtube_gdata_player Happy happy joy joy...
      BipDBo
      • 3 Years Ago
      It doesn't mater what the President says during the election. During his second term, with no re-election to worry about, he will allow the pipeline. I'm sure he'll blame someone esle for it.
        mchlrus1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        The president should have one 6 year term. So much more would get done without the worry of getting re-elected. It makes more than enough sense. Any reasonably minded person would agree, too. I have talked with numerous intelligent economist, and philosophers on this issue. The only people who disagree with this ideal are the politicians themselves. So much of a president's term is based on their re-election. That's my cup of tea.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        If you elect a Phalanx of Progress Democrats you can control the President to REPRESENT the People. Otherwise, you're screwed.
        SNP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        he wont blame someone else, he'll reason his way out and convince the majority of americans that it's the best way to navigate our situation to better alternatives.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      The following are the words of Albert Einstein, "...I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: “Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?”..." It seems that Einstein had a friend who was rational enough to get Albert's idealistic head out of the clouds. If Einstein were alive today I"m sure he'd be spouting all kinds of alarmist commie nonsense about "global warming" and "ocean acidification".
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The difficulty with emotional responses to building a pipeline, is that focus get lost of the real issue. The real issue is about a method of transporting oil, not whether Oil should be imported from Canada. Or, even if the Canadian oil fields should be exploited. Oil production will continue. The choice of transportation is by road, rail, sea or pipeline. The best environmental method is than a pipeline. There is no 'third' choice. Stopping construction of a pipeline only encourages higher risk, less economic and more environmentally harmful transport methods. The picture of the demonstrators looks impressive, but in reality, Canada and US combined population is nearly 350 million, and this tiny handful of demonstrators does not represent national opinion.
        miles
        • 23 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Agreed. I don't see this as any benefit to the environment, but a big hit to jobs, energy security, nat. security.
        EZEE
        • 23 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Honest question - since the media hasn't reported much on this, I am behind the times. Does anyone have any good references on the science behind all of this? Oil sands, environment, pollution, etc? One good pro oil sands, and one good anti oil sands article would be nice. Not being swayed by emotional rhetoric, I would like both sides.... Hi Dan!
          EZEE
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          @marco Thank you thank you. It was this post, or some other where Ford was raging at the oil companies, and how they do NOTHING for alternative energy research. I did a bit of research, but was like, 'this is more Marco's area than mine.'. I found a few good statistics though... Now we can talk of those oil company subsidies... ;)
          Marco Polo
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          Ezee Chevron alone spends more money on Geo-thermal than all other investors put together. BP, is still the largest single investor in Solar. Shell has a vast investments in Bio-fuels. Comoco-Phillips invests heavily in alternate Energy. Total is relatively new, and still a minnow in comparison, but Totals investment is in the billions. Mobile-Exxon has just committed 45 billion to bio-fuel feedstock research. The major oil companies are fairly secretive about nature of investments involving JVC's with other consortium's. (I mean it's hard enough being an Oil company, but a joint venture with Monsanto is a PR nightmare!). However, the combined Oil industry investment into alternate energy is already over 500 billion and will soon exceed a trillion dollars.
          Marco Polo
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          Ezee There is no 'environmentally positive' way to produce Oil ! Least of all the production of oil from oil sands, shale etc . Even with the best extraction practise, utilising the best techniques, it's still a only matter of harm minimisation. The only argument to licence such resource exploitation, is necessity. This situation will deteriorate as economic oil depletion increases. The future for Oil production will be increasingly expensive and difficult to produce. As the risks grow, t technology will eventually be unable to cope and environmental disasters will become more commonplace. This is why the Oil Industry is investing billions into alternate energy. The 'Age of OIL' is drawing to a close, and the world economy must adapt to new energy products. The biggest problem is that nothing as yet can replace the enormous economic surpluses that plentiful Oil provided. Without those huge profits extending across the entire economy, the future looks very bleak. Stentorian, hysterical, puerile condemnation of Oil companies, and other such nonsense, without realistic alternative, is unhelpful and simplistic. For road transport, EV's are becoming a practical alternative, but electricity is very expensive to produce and will never offer the versatility of oil. The range of oil products in the US represents nearly 10% of the US economy. BP, almost completely underwrites the UK retirement industry, etc etc.... There are no easy answers for these issues.
          EZEE
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          Billion? Don't tell Ford...he won't hear of it....
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's Nebraska Republicans who killed the route. It's their aquifer. Mike Johanns, the Nebraska Republican, said after the announcement, “If we can find a better route, I think some of this controversy will go away, and it will [...] I’m not opposed to tar sands. I’m not opposed to pipelines. You just picked the wrong route.”
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        yay republicans!
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Translation: Go pollute someone else's water ;)
          EZEE
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I commented further below on your bikes. I had an idea....
          EZEE
          • 23 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          :D Or, 'not in my district!' You won't hear me disagree at all 2wheel. I am actually more of a libertarian, so I put little faith in either side or government in general.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just go ahead and approve it already. We already know that is what you are going to do. You are not fooling anyone.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        He had about 143 days of experience in the senate prior to running for president.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          And then there's Mitt, who changes his position on every day that ends with "day".
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Are you sure you really want to go down this road, EZEE? We're talking about someone who was: Professor at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years. Compare that to three of your Republican candidates with IQ's of less then 80? - Bachmann, Cann, and, give me a minute, it's on the tip of my tongue, begins with, tall guy, from the South, maybe Texas, I'll think of it in a sec, oh, heck.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      I disagree to a point. All of what you said makes sense, but you miss (or didn't include) the fact that many in government understand what you say, and utilize it for their own ends. Saul Alinsky wrote rules for radicals (whom Hillary Clinton wrote her masters thesis on) to build upon people's ignorance and passion for their own ends. Isolate...ridicule...two of the rules. Benito Mussolini said, 'logic and reasoning can be used as tools, but with the myth, you can move mountains.' ie, get people's emotions involved, and stuff gets done. The Muslims in the middle east use this to such great success,mother strap bombs to their own children (insert disclaimer about Muslims not all supporting this, vast majority peace loving blah blah blah). Some (not all) in this room seem to accept nothing short of full electric, yet when I brought up drilling in the gulf of Mexico by Cuba, they all looked at me like I was insane. Of course the Cubans can drill! It's there water! I was shocked at how the brains just shut right off and something that would garner outrage if the USA did it, or European country, was met with indifference. The sad part is, people eat up these arguments. If one side does something bad, people defend it until it is obvious, and then...they find something similar the other side did, so that then they call them hypocrites. In other words, the best that they can do is, 'oh yea, your side does it too!'. That makes it right then? In a room like this, to have all of these 'absolutes' (only electric, nothing but electric) is rather sad. It won't happen right now, so let's keep trying (gen 2 volt, leaf, focus), but in the mean time... Pump up your tires. Change your air filter. Ride a bike. Turn out a light. Wear a sweater. Shut your computer off. Assist your community with electric buses (Marco perks up) If you are buying a car, but cannot afford a volt or leaf, read the emission label (I did when I got my ULEV ranger), get the Eco boost option. Look at the weight and aero :) Everyone here is like, 'corporations are evil because I don't have my flying Mr. Fusion car RIGHT NOW that flies back in time and only costs $11,000!!!'
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ezee, All the little 'tips' for personal environmental practises, might make you feel good, but the cumulative effect is minuscule and totally ineffective. This may be a very offencive and unpopular thing to say, but it's true! No banging of drums, indignant shouting will alter the fact that environmental issues are dealt with ineffectively and haphazardly. As a result, the population busies itself with ineffective gestures that only gratify self-esteem, but achieves very little. Effective action requires logistical priorities, and clear coordinated planning, not random feel good gestures.
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