State Department Report: Keystone XL Is Environmentally Sound

The State Department released an environmental impact assessment on the Keystone XL pipeline Friday afternoon, concluding that the project is environmentally sound and “is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.” A 45-day comment period will now begin for the public to weigh in on the project. The State Department will respond to the comments, before finalizing the environmental impact statement, and “conduct a separate analysis of whether the project is in the national interest, a question on which eight other agencies will offer input over 90 days.” Obama is unlikely to make a final decision until “mid-summer at the earliest.”

From the report:

Based on information and analysis about the North American crude transport infrastructure (particularly the proven ability of rail to transport substantial quantities of crude oil profitably under current market conditions, and to add capacity relatively rapidly) and the global crude oil market, the draft Supplemental EIS concludes that approval or denial of the proposed Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area. […] Spills associated with the proposed Project that enter the environment are expected to be rare and relatively small.

The study found that “The annual CO2e emissions from the proposed Project is equivalent to CO2e emissions from approximately 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for one year or 398,000 homes using electricity for one year.” It also suggests that “America can meet its energy needs over the next decade without” the project by relying on the “growth in rail transport of oil from western Canada and the Bakken Formation on the Great Plains and other pipelines.”

The proposed pipeline would transport tar sands oil — one of the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels — all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Industry officials have themselves admitted that without the pipeline, vast amounts of tar sands will stay in the ground. Were the project to go online, the pipeline would constitute a “carbon bomb,” further enabling the ongoing glut of carbon emissions into the atmosphere that threaten to drive global warming to catastrophic levels.

Because of its importance to the fossil fuel industry, contrasted with the damage it would add to the planet’s climate, the Keystone XL pipeline became a flashpoint in the national debate over future climate and energy policy. All told, over $178 million was spent 2012 to lobby in support of the pipeline — outdoing opponents by a whopping 35 to 1. Keystone pipeline boosters included business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, labor unions such the Laborers’ International Union of North America and the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and the usual Big Oil suspects such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Shell Oil.

Despite that overwhelming show of lobbying force, the Keystone XL pipeline galvanized environmentalists, climate activists, and other opponents to shift the center of gravity in the debate. First, the Obama Administration delayed its decision on the pipeline, which was originally scheduled for January. Then Obama picked noted climate hawk Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the new Secretary of State, thus placing him in charge of State’s review of the project. Finally, ever since the election November 2012, both Kerry and Obama himself have surprised observers by taking unusually strong stances on the need to address the threat of climate change immediately and decisively.


Sierra Club responds: “We’re mystified as to how the State Department can acknowledge the negative effects of the Earth’s dirtiest oil on our climate, but at the same time claim that the proposed pipeline will ‘not likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.’ Whether this failure was willful or accidental, this report is nothing short of malpractice. ”

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92 Responses to State Department Report: Keystone XL Is Environmentally Sound

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    We live in a time of ultimate fraud.

  2. Camburn says:

    As expected and actually well known, the pipeline will be built.

  3. Ozonator says:

    Please ignore any resemblance to the Roman Empire’s Aquaduct and their extremist electing a horse (non-pantomine).

  4. Bill Kenny says:

    If the environmentalists’ (and aren’t/shouldn’t we all be?) concerns have been addressed I wonder what the actual problem continues to be for the Sierra Club. Secret agenda by ANYONE are bad business. The outstanding issue would seemingly have been resolved. Build the pipeline and stop the whispered innuendo and disparagement.

  5. Don Beams says:

    This verbiage points to only one thing… massive and pervasive corruption within the State Dep’t. It is not possible that this is the result of stupidity or a lack of scientific and legal evidence that this is an environmentally devastating project both from the inevitable spills and the refining and burning of this oil as well as a morally indefensible “taking” of US citizen’s lands by a foreign corporation strictly for its own profit, with ZERO public or community benefits demonstrated by that corporation to justify “eminent domain”.. This just stinks to high heaven.

  6. Richard Miller says:

    Current CO2 levels will result in an eventual 69 foot sea level rise destroying all American coastal cities and all the great coastal cities in the world, not to mention wiping out a great deal of countries like Bangladesh.

    Concerning the American impacts. Seems to me the pipeline, which is just more Business as usaul, will likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.

    Obama swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The opening lines of the Constitution are the following:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Do the “Blessings of Liberty” include not destroying all the natural and human wealth on our coastlines?

  7. Max1 says:

    She doesn’t buy the dress and shoes if not planning to attend the prom…
    … Obama built the front third and the last third, and intends to make the middle third work.

    Why else invest in the dressings if only to waste that money on not going to the prom?

  8. Jane Jerome says:

    Richard, climate change will likely blow a hole in “domestic tranquility” too.

  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    As a week is a long time in politics, a few months is an eternity. Throw in a few more extreme weather events and anything could happen. But one thing is for sure – this is the time for the American and Canadian people to come together and show what they’re made of. And don’t let deniers tell you demos achieve nothing, that is simply part of their current strategy – ‘it’s all hopeless’, ME

  10. Bart Flaster says:

    As I feared, but in a surprising way. One could feel individual’s hopes get up. All of the above is all of the above, after all.

  11. BobbyL says:

    This reminds me of the way we get polluted water. The environmental impact statement for each proposed development contends it will not have a significant effect on water pollution yet after enough developments are built the waterways are polluted. Despite laws requiring EISs the pollution of air, water, and soil goes on. Somehow these so-called “nonsignificant effects” add up to something very significant.

  12. Calamity Jean says:

    By drowning ports and naval bases, sea level rise will likely mess up “the common defence” also. And where is the Justice in allowing millions of people to lose their homes, if not their lives?

  13. Mike Roddy says:

    This is more evidence that we live in a petro state. Every branch of government has been corrupted by fossil fuel money. It also explains why there will not be a carbon tax, or much of anything that will ramp down our emissions at the scale required.

    Our country is a shell of our former selves, making things like Teapot Dome and defense industry capture of Congress in the 1950’s look like kid stuff.

    We knew about Obama in 2009, when he claimed on television that the leak rate from the Gulf spill was 10% of what we already knew it was. Washington is hopeless. Only the people can effect change now.

  14. MarkF says:

    now what?

  15. Ken Barrows says:

    A week indeed is a long time in politics, which is why what John Kerry said last week is not very important.

  16. Tom says:

    Obama’s America.

  17. apetra says:

    LMAO. Hillary lays a goose-egg for Obama on her way out of Foggy Bottom.

  18. Solar Jim says:

    We live in a time of pure financial fraud and massive mis-allocation of resources (including about 3/4 trillion dollars of annual global climate change subsidies and off-book social costs, for fossil “fuels”).

    “Frankly, (entrenched financial interests) run the place.” (US Senator)

  19. Solar Jim says:

    Thank you. However, remember Justice Scalia said the US Constitution is “dead, dead, dead.”

    They say it could be a hot summer.

  20. catman306 says:

    Don’t know if this was a typo, but I like it:

    Business as USAul

  21. Solar Jim says:

    In the US, according to legend, only The People have sovereignty. Unfortunately, globalized houses of finance own the Three Branches of gov’mint, not to mention the fossil/fissile military complex. In the meantime we have the equivalent of thermonuclear climate weapons on their way and we debate “healthcare.” Pass the carbonic acid, and what in the tar nation.

  22. Merrelyn Emery says:

    And neither is what the State Dept puts in a report, ME

  23. Alex says:

    It is interesting that they say most of the bitumen crude will be delivered to refineries in the Gulf Coast area, but that it “is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area”. So why would Canadian energy interests have promoted it so heavily? The fact is, it represents an easier and more economical/profitable way of getting bitumen onto the world market.

  24. Did the State Dept just say that KeystoneXL isn’t needed?

    1) the oil sands industry doesn’t need KXL because it won’t increase the oil they extract or ship

    2) the gulf refineries don’t need KXL because they will get the same amount of crude anyway

    3) USA doesn’t need it because we will get our oil anyway.

    Nobody needs KXL. Might was well say “no” then.

  25. The biggest single oil consumer is the USA military. It uses around 340 million barrels a day. KeystoneXL would open a new spigot to twice that much bitumen.

    How could that possibly have any effect on climate pollution?

  26. Jo says:

    Well. Either they are incredibly stupid or are being bought. I am so tired of officials we elect being bought by oil companies or other large industries. I understand the oil is being shipped overseas and we won’t be using it. Why not put that money into building more solar and sun energy projects that would put people to work for a longer period and help the environment. I am angry that The state department is not concerned about the welfare of the people and the welfare of the earth. There was a Native American Tribe that considered, when making a decision, how that decision would affect the tribe 7 generations down the road. They did not make the decision based on what they could get at the moment. We have only been here a moment of the earths lifetime and I predict that we will be here a moment longer. We are our own worst enemy. The earth will heal after we are gone. It is possible to live in harmony with the earth but so many people are removed from that relationship we can have with the earth. I am tired of educated but stupid, greedy people being in charge of making decisions that affect us and many generations down the road.

  27. Jay Alt says:

    The Friday evening report release is Politics-as-Usual, for their Business-as-Usual climate policies.

    If this administration was worried about how we felt or might react,, they’d have waited for the next holiday weekend. Wouldn’t they?

  28. David Goldstein says:

    I very much appreciate CP for its extensive and enduring climate coverage. And, in a sense, I get my truest pulse of our geo-political climate situation when it comes to climate at It is a ‘hardcore progressive’ website. Most of the writers and commenters have no illusions that any aspect of the political/economic institutional mainstream will take any substantial action whatsoever that is congruent with the scope of the climate emergency. It is simply not going to happen anytime soon- the momentum and force of growth capitalism and its ties to fossil fuels are too great. Things simply need to radicalize from here- like Selma and Montgomery, bodies will have to be put in harms way for many years. Sacrifices will need to be made. Am I willing to put myself in harms way? I honestly do not know.

  29. BobbyL says:

    Between the oil companies, the Canadian government, and labor unions wanting this pipeline to be built and this EIS saying there are no substantial impacts you have assume it will be built. Particularly after Obama actually stood in front of a stack of pipeline sections for the southern portion of the pipeline during the campaign last year. And Obama has an all of the above energy policy. Unfortunately, the pieces seem to be in place for approval.

  30. Mugsy says:

    Not only would the KXL be an environmental disaster, but it would mean HIGHER gas prices. No wonder the oil companies want it so bad:

  31. Well, the State Department Likes it, the big Democratic Party backing unions think it is great. Might as well do it. What do these scientists know anyway.

  32. BobbyL says:

    It is hard to see how the climate movement can score victories if the labor unions aren’t on board. It is still coming down to jobs versus the environment, even when the fate of civilization appears to be at stake. Although most of the jobs in this case are temporary I would assume pipeline workers go from one temporary job to the next.

  33. Kota says:

    “Then Obama picked noted climate hawk Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the new Secretary of State, thus placing him in charge of State’s review of the project.”

    Whom was convieniently out of country when this was released. It will be interesting to read what he thinks about it. I was pondering if we were getting Mr. Green Kerry or Mr. Red (ketchup) Kerry. Right now it looks like red.

    It was also interesting that Pres. Obama was golfing with oil and electric guys while the KXL pipeline protest was going on. I think it was one day later one of those associates companies announced the bidding process for yet another pipeline from North Dakota.

    Looks like the pipeline will be approved. I’m not sure it will survive. Much like the drilling in the arctic – lots of things could go wrong. They don’t have the margins for lots of things to go wrong and still gain a profit. That is all they care about, profit.

    It’s a symbol now. It doesn’t matter if it does or does not count big in the overall climate wars. When the people get mad, and they will; the first thing that will come to mind is the Keystone.

    When granny dies of heat stroke, when the well runs dry, when the tornado tears up your memories and throws them over the countryside – floods and storms and fires. People will first think of the keystone.

  34. David Goldstein says:

    We have come to the testing time of our development as a species. SO far we have made it to the careless expression of power that defines adolescence. We will need to advance to adulthood before too long or we shall perish. Adolescence can not last forever (can you imagine!?!?). So far we are, for the most part, failing the testing time. Physics is a stern and unforgiving teacher- so there will no make-up tests offered.

  35. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    Be careful with that headline! While there was a discouraging vocabulary and difficult to decipher measurement of CO2 in the draft assessment, there was no conclusion. Huff Post and the Sierra Club, and the headline here, are fudging their language tonight. The draft never says that there are not significant impacts on the environment. It says there are not significant impacts on how much the pipeline will draw from the big pool.

    Let’s keep it right, guys. And lets take advantage of this 45 day commenting period to write a very easy to make email to the State Dept while the public is being heard. Here is my letter tonight. Feel free to copy/paste and modify:


    U.S. Department of State
    Attn: Genevieve Walker, NEPA Coordinator
    2201 C Street NW, Room 2726
    Washington, D.C. 20520

    Secretary John Kerry and President Barack Obama,

    There are many negative issues around the continued development of the Canadian oil sands. You already know them — from killing a vast forest, to treating our atmosphere like an open sewer. But the one issue that hurts us today, and our children tomorrow, is creating a new super-greenhouse gasoline for all of us to burn in our cars and trucks when we should be going the exact opposite direction.

    At a time when Obama and the nation have worked so hard in partnership to reduce these climate changing emissions over the last four years, why would you now erase those efforts with this extra dirty source of fuel? It makes no sense and it supports no legacy.

    We don’t need this extra risk and liability in our future, Mr. Secretary and Mr. President. The coming challenges already present enough of a test on their own. Meet us on this so we can continue our problem solving partnership, together.

    -Christopher S. Johnson

  36. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    This angle occurred to me too.

  37. rainbow clyde says:

    The sierra club is just twisting the facts.. that oil is going to come out of the gtound and either go by train or pipeline. So when weighing the facts the oil being consumed has nothing to do with it. If they were truthful the equation they would use would be net environmental damage of the pipe line vs the trains or canadian pipelines. But of course they are never truthful.

    what you idiots don’t realize is that every drop of oil will comeo our of the ground no matter what. it will be used by americans or the billions of chinees and indians will benifit from it if we stop or use.

    Deal with it. At least if the water levels rise the wealth will be distributed as the rich lose thier mansions and have to buy new waterfront 6 blocks back.

  38. Bob Geiger says:

    You are correct. The argument for the pipleline is about jobs, nothing else. We need to be refuting the bogus jobs figures that proponents use.

  39. Jelly Jam says:

    The State department has drawn their line in the sand. I think its time for the environmental movement to pour water on it with not only research, meetings, and money, but also by mobilizing people to take to their state legislatures and Congresspeople’s offices. There needs to be a strong and clear message sent that something cannot be environmentally sound when 1) we don’t need it and 2) we know it will put a crap load of carbon into the air. We need to send a resounding “HELL NO” to Sec. Kerry and Pres. Obama.

  40. Leif says:

    Trade the pipeline for a level playing field in the energy market. All externalized costs accounted for and they can have their **cking pipeline in my view. Stop profits from the pollution of the commons. The GOP do not fund abortion. Fine. A precedent. Why must “We the People” be forced to subsidize the ecocide of the planet? Distributed green energy brings profits to the people not the polluters. Green energy at any price is far cheaper than the cheapest Fossil. I vote for a tax rebellion in the spirit of the original “Tea Party.” “Socially enabled capitalism” is far worse than taxation without representation. This is taxation in support of the ecocide of Earth’s life support systems.

  41. paulina says:

    me too! :)

  42. paulina says:

    “The study found that “The annual CO2e emissions from the proposed Project is equivalent to CO2e emissions from approximately 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for one year or 398,000 homes using electricity for one year.””

    Just for clarity: those emissions come from the energy used to power the pipeline pump stations. Out of context the “emissions from the project” phrasing is a bit ambiguous.

    That’s 3.19 million tons of CO2e to power the pipeline.

  43. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What did you expect from the consummate confidence-trickster of recent history?

  44. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Incitatus was appointed, not elected.

  45. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Don, why would the State Department be the only major organ of power in the USA, in the entire Western world, not afflicted by ‘..massive and pervasive corruption..’?

  46. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    In Australia, over decades, there has never been an EIS that recommended that a project not go ahead, yet the environment is crumbling before our eyes.

  47. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When the Bosses and their paid toadies say ‘Jobs’, their reptilian minds are thinking ‘Money’.

  48. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The labor unions were purged of all but Rightwing collaborators, whose sole function is to neuter workers and deliver them, gift-wrapped, to the Bosses, decades ago. In Australia the Rightwing unions are crumbling into a sewer of corruption, and many of their leaders are amongst the vilest of the vile of our villainous ruling elites.

  49. Ozonator says:

    I am humbly in your debt. I did not know that appointments were conservative value aka a better way of stealing democracy. “Amnesty Won’t Help the GOP Win Hispanic Votes … February 26, 2013” (the old, ugly and evil Rush “looting” Limbaugh whistlesucker performing and perfuming the stink at

  50. katz says:

    Washington and corporate America does not care about the enviroment. All about the dollar bill. We need all new learders in Washington!

  51. If the report said the pipeline will not affect the development of the tar sands or the amount of oil refined at the gulf and if the US can meet its energy needs without it, then why build it at all?

  52. Camburn says:

    Why build it? Because if it isn’t built, the oil will arrive via rail, which is much worse environmentally than the pipeline.

  53. PCalith says:

    I’d also point out the “Promoting the general welfare” would be thrown out the window as well.

  54. PCalith says:

    Good thing the Navy’s moving ahead on renewable energy and whatnot, then.

  55. bc says: “No one who is serious about protecting the future of our planet and reversing global warming could support this pipeline project. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest on Earth, and the Environmental Protection Agency has said clearly that tar sands production releases 82 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil.” Sen Sanders

  56. It’s always about money, now would you like ketchup with that?

  57. I disagree that rail is worse. Rail is much less of a fossil fuel commitment than a 30+ year pipeline that only is useful to pump 800k barrels a day of tar sands oil.

    A railroad can be used for lots of things.

    The IEA talks about “lock in” coming in less than 5 years from long-lasting fossil fuel infrastructure that requires a choice of either overheating the climate or stranding capital. KeystoneXL is a “lock in”. Railroads are much less so.

    Plus more jobs via railroad shipments

  58. More jobs would be created shipping by rail.

    Plus railroad isn’t nearly the “climate lock in” of a new pipeline which needs to pump 800k barrels of tar sands oil every day for over 30 years…or be stranded. Railroads can be used for other things.

  59. BobbyL says:

    There is something called the BlueGreen Alliance which is a collaboration of labor and environmental organizations working for clean energy jobs. I think one problem is that in this economy laborers are happy to get any job, clean or dirty. The long-term consequences of dirty jobs just gets pushed aside.

  60. dael says:

    Once the Draft SEIS has been published by the EPA, the public will have 45 days to comment on the document. Those comments can be addressed to the following mailbox:<<<<<<comment to this address!

  61. Spike says:

    Environmentally sound???

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery….

  62. ant says:

    To do nothing in the face of evil
    Is to wear the evil face yourself.

  63. ant says:

    & this pipeline is tubular, viral evil
    stretched thousands of miles
    crossing billions of lives
    & extending into centuries …
    time to DO something
    non-violent, but virulent

  64. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    Right! The draft report does this trick multiple times. It’s not lying, but one has to read it carefully, like you did, in order to see what context they are referring to, or it can be misread. Its a little insidious in my book.

  65. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    This is such a good question that I almost half believe that it could be a political trojan horse given to our side as a tool. Or as the basis for when the State Dept uses that to reject the pipeline. See what I mean? This could be a very good sign.

  66. This is the Tragedy of the Commons playing out.

  67. That’s right, it’s very misleading. It has no relationship to the all-in CO2e profile of this operation.

    To say that it’ll be developed anyway isn’t credible. If that were true, they wouldn’t be lobbying for it. At the least, the lack of KXL would retard tar sands development.

    What State should really be doing is negotiating with Canada about alternatives to developing the tar sands at all. If there’s any hope of averting annihilation, we have to begin to exhibit a new mindset, where fossil fuel development isn’t a foregone conclusion. It must bear the burden of proof, rather than non-development.

  68. BobbyL says:

    The more oil produced in North America the less power Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq have (Those three countries have about two-thirds of the known reserves of conventional oil.) It’s probably no more complicated than that. The down side of course is that it adds to global warming and the risk of the collapse of global civilization.

  69. Superman1 says:

    Don, How is this fundamentally different from how American government collaborates with/acquiesces to industry across the spectrum: the FDA on drugs, the FCC and FDA with respect to cell phone safety, the SEC on financial regulations, etc? The revolving door relationship provides all the incentives that government needs to do what industry wants.

  70. Superman1 says:

    To paraphrase Bush the Elder: ‘we need 1000 points of light’! 1000 John Browns who are willing to do whatever is necessary to save our civilization.

  71. Bara says:

    This too stinks of something more than stupidity… In the opening summary of “Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions that environmental policy analyst, Richard Lattanzio, produced for Congress in June 2012,” he wrote:

    “…discounting the final consumption phase of the life-cycle assessment (which can contribute up to 70%-80% of Well-to-Wheel emissions), Well-to-Tank (i.e., “production”) GHG emissions are, on average, 72%-111% higher for Canadian oil sands crude than for the weighted average of transportation fuels sold or distributed in the United States”.

    When comparing GHG emissions from the various oil sources with tar sands oil, the report figures in the numbers for the consumption phase (which is about the same for all oil sources) to arrive at their percentages. My more mathematically-oriented partner pointed out that figuring this way makes the increased emissions from the tar sands production appear smaller in the percentages (5% to 19%) they cite than it would if you left out the consumption emissions.

  72. Bara says:

    This too stinks of something more than stupidity… In the opening summary of “Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” that environmental policy analyst, Richard Lattanzio, produced for Congress in June 2012, he wrote:

    “…discounting the final consumption phase of the life-cycle assessment (which can contribute up to 70%-80% of Well-to-Wheel emissions), Well-to-Tank (i.e., “production”) GHG emissions are, on average, 72%-111% higher for Canadian oil sands crude than for the weighted average of transportation fuels sold or distributed in the United States”.

    When comparing GHG emissions from the various oil sources with tar sands oil, the report figures in the numbers for the consumption phase (which is about the same for all oil sources) to arrive at their percentages. My more mathematically-oriented partner pointed out that figuring this way makes the increased emissions from the tar sands production appear smaller in the percentages (5% to 19%) they cite than it would if you left out the consumption emissions.

  73. LeesiD says:

    Cannot Sec. Kerry request more study since this was done before he was even nominated as the Sec. of State?? Why the heck would we want to allow this toxic sludge to potentially harm our environment while it travels to the Gulf on its way to China??

  74. BobbyL says:

    Agree. Without a global cap on CO2 emissions every country is going to follow its perceived economic interests and the tragedy will play itself out. We hear wonderful speeches at international climate conferences but no real action. In the 1990s we saw the US save the Kyoto Protocol treaty but the Congress would not ratify it so we not could join. Since then it has been all downhill. Now we have been reduced to fighting over pipelines. It is a sad state of affairs.

  75. Olivia Taylor says:

    Section 526 of the Energy Independence and National Security Act of 2007, signed into law by President George W. Bush. It prohibits the US government, which is the largest single fuel purchaser in the U.S., from using taxpayer dollars to purchase fuels that have a higher carbon footprint than conventional oil. That means the US Government can not use any of the Tar Sands Oil that will be in the Keystone XL Pipeline. Also read the following to realize the Bush/Cheney Administration also admitted we have Global Warming and tried to do something about it.
    No Federal agency shall enter into a contract for procurement
    of an alternative or synthetic fuel, including a fuel produced from
    nonconventional petroleum sources, for any mobility-related use,
    other than for research or testing, unless the contract specifies
    that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the
    production and combustion of the fuel supplied under the contract
    must, on an ongoing basis, be less than or equal to such emissions
    from the equivalent conventional fuel produced from conventional
    petroleum sources.

    From Rep. Markey’s website:

    WASHINGTON (July 31, 2012) – An ill-informed decision by the Internal Revenue Service saying tar sands is not actually crude oil is giving tar sands oil a free ride from paying a tax which funds an oil spill cleanup fund, even though tar sands oil has properties that cause it to be costlier when it spills, and is more corrosive, posing increased risks to pipelines during transit. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) questioned this tax free status today in a letter sent to the Treasury Secretary Geithner asking about the exemption, especially in light of this weekend’s pipeline spill in Wisconsin by the pipeline company Enbridge, a Canadian shipper of tar sands oil into the United States.
    The Democratic staff of the Natural Resources Committee released a report today on this tar sands tax loophole, entitled “Tax Free Tar Sands: New tax loophole give tar sands a free ride”. The report is available on the Natural Resources Committee Democrats’ website HERE.
    Rep. Markey’s letter to Secretary Geithner urging a reversal of IRS decision can be found HERE.
    The decision by the IRS, originally reached in May of 2011, says that tar sands oil is not crude oil, and therefore importers of tar sands oil do not have to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. That fund is used to pay for the costs of cleaning up oil spills and for paying damages for a company’s spill. This tax loophole could cost taxpayers $50 million a year and send the fund into the red. The spill response fund is already at risk of running out of money because of the combined costs of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill and the Kalamazoo River spill of tar sands oil, according to the Government Accountability Office.
    “Tar sands is already the dirtiest, riskiest oil around. It shouldn’t get a free ride from the U.S. taxpayer when it comes to paying into this vital spill response fund,” said Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. “Oil companies already receive outrageous tax subsidies that total billions of dollars and there is no defensible reason for this oil spill free ride to be added to that dubious list of loopholes.”
    Enbridge’s 2010 tar sands oil spill in Michigan proved that this type of oil is more difficult and expensive to cleanup than conventional crude oil. Cleanup crews found that because of its unique properties, the tar sands oil had to be cleaned up at every level of the river—the top, the middle, and at the bottom, where it sunk into the sediment.
    The IRS ruling that tar sands is not crude oil was done to satisfy one refiner and flies in the face of other government experts who say that tar sands is essentially crude oil. The IRS concluded that the generic terms crude oil and petroleum products, as contained in the statute, do not clearly include or exclude tar sands.

    See Rep. Markey’s website for more.

  76. Camburn says:

    Rail Roads travel all over the country. There is no environmental impact statement required to haul crude oil.

    A typical train will haul 118 tank cars that carry approx 600 barrels per car.

    That is 70,800 barrels of oil per train.

    Now, imagine a derailment over the Missouri River. Or another large river, or on any area of the thousands of miles of track?

    A recipe for disaster.

  77. Bara says:

    Jobs in Canada–more of the permanent ones, anyway. Here and in Canada, we’re being told different things about their revenues from KXL. Oil interests want to the Gulf Coast (and Portland, ME) hooked up, making our country a hub for carbon distribution:

    Feb. 28 (Bloomberg;) — Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told reporters in Ottawa that if the KXL isn’t approved, “The immediate cost would be the employment in Canada that would be lost and the revenue from the additional sales”. He reiterated that building additional pipeline capacity to transport crude to ocean ports from Alberta’s oil sands is a “strategic objective” of Canada.” (Reported by Theophilos Argitis.)

  78. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    Hey, Chinese company just bought NEXGEN, one of the largest producers from the oil sands! 15.1 Billion dollar sale!

  79. Monica M says:

    Regarding the AFL-CIO’s position and its 2/26/13 statement on energy and jobs (with 5 of 9 paragraphs devoted to pipelines), there seems to be a deafening silence from climate activists in response. Are people really that afraid of Trumka? (At least the nurses aren’t. Nat’l Nurses United was apparently the only AFL-CIO member union to dissent.)

  80. Artful Dodger says:

    No kidding, Barry! What a bunch of defeatist whiners! Who wrote this HEADLINE?!

    Joe, I know it’s your usual role, and if you wrote it, I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Jeff, if you wrote it, there is no excuse.

    This is a GUT CHECK, a trial balloon sent up by State to see if the ‘Climate People’ have any fight in them, or if they’ll wilt like lilies left to bake in the Texas sun. Because if YOU won’t fight, Big Oil will get their pipeline.

    Ask yourself, when a Drug Dealer tries to move into your neighborhood, do you introduce him to your kids, or do you chase his sorry ass out of town? Do you throw you hands up, or get your boots on?

    This is simple: NO NEW INFRASTRUCTURE! Let it move by the existing Keystone pipeline, or by CN rail if they want, but DO NOT build more pipe.

    Come on people, fight! This is not the time to quit. Just look at all the first-time commenters trolling on the post. They want you to quit. That’s how they win.

    Never give in, never surrender. You DO NOT want to make me do a Jedi Mind Meld on you! No, it’s not time to quit, it’s time to go all McKibben on these people.

  81. Artful Dodger says:

    Yes Barry, their argument depends on smoke and mirrors. They say they find a way to burn it no matter what, so you’d better give us this pipeline. Except that they can’t move it any other way, not for many, many years by which time renewable energy WILL be cheaper than ALL fossil fuels.

    This is a simple variant of the ‘Dr. Seuss fallacy’: if we had some ham we could have some ham & eggs, if we had some eggs.

    It’s time for some Green Eggs with that Ham. Let’s leave the Black Eggs in the ground.

  82. mattzcat says:

    The only purpose for this pipeline is to transport U.S. and Canadian oil to where it can easily be loaded onto a supertanker.

    Why should the U.S. simultaneously be the world’s largest oil importer and one of the largest exporters ? This is all part of a giant shell game to keep oil companies from paying income taxes on their record profits.

  83. Kyle Brewer says:

    I simply don’t understand why people are so against the KXL pipeline. Is it the it will create jobs in Texas, a red state? It is ridiculous that the same people who rightfully should be angry at Republicans for not passing any job bills are the ones that say “We don’t need the jobs from this pipeline.” It’s time to put partisanship aside to get our country working again!

  84. Sasparilla says:

    That’s a very good point Kota, I hadn’t thought of that.

  85. Sasparilla says:

    Wow, we’ll if there is one country that can be counted on to look out for our interests as it takes over a big chunk of the tar sands oil it’s the Chinese, oh wait a sec…something about that doesn’t seem right.

    On a corollary note, seems crazy for the Canadians to give ownership to such a key strategic national resource.

  86. Sasparilla says:

    Kyle, its actually pretty easy. The Canadian Tar sands and the Venezuelan Orinoco tar fields together account for 1/2 the CO2 emissions that are left before we reach 450ppm with its 2.0c rise in temperature (which won’t be a stable or safe temp as it’ll keep going up) – that doesn’t include any allowances for other oil, natural gas or coal burning – most of both of those resources need to stay in the ground forever. Stopping the XL will make the exploitation of the Tar Sands slower, so we have more time to tackle climate change and put the stopper on our fossil fuel resource bottles (most of which must stay in the ground).

    We just recently learned that previously all permafrost starts to thaw by 1.5c or so (we’re at +0.8c right now) – this will release immense amounts of methane from which Nature will take over warming the climate from us and we will no longer have control of this process (methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, and after many decades it decays into CO2). If we were to stop all worldwide CO2 emissions today (not possible) the world would continue warming up for 30-40 more years as the oceans act as a big drag on the temp rise. If we burn all the tar sands and our other fossil fuel resources, you’re looking at a world population of 3billion to less than 1 billion (depending on the estimate) by the end of the century with most of the population centered around the poles (just a couple of generations down the road – to think the U.S. will still be around as a country in that scenario is unrealistic). The warming will continue after that of course.

    For the most part there will only be temporary construction jobs (that’s the point of a pipeline, it doesn’t require a lot of continuous jobs to get its liquid to wherever). If you want jobs that stick around a pipeline isn’t what you want.

  87. Sasparilla says:

    This report is what is called Teeing up the XL for Administration approval.

    It’s useful to remember, in light of this report, that it was the U.S. State Department (the current Administration) that hired the primary consultant of TransCanada to write its environmental impact statement previously…the wheels in the Washington and the Administration in particular are greased and want this to go through. We’ll just cary our fight on if it gets through.

  88. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Who is the ‘conservative’ Caligula? So much choice!

  89. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    So that’s why she walks like that!

  90. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And the Edgar Allen Award goes to….rainbow clyde.

  91. Pamela Dritt says:

    The thing is, the environmentalists’ (and aren’t/shouldn’t we all be?) concerns have NOT been addressed.

    We must do *nothing* to help Canada exploit the tar sands. See this Ted Talk, The true cost of oil: Garth Lenz @ TEDxVictoria: