June 4 News: What Keystone? Enbridge Builds And Expands Existing Tar Sands Pipeline Network

Enbridge is quietly building a network of pipelines from Canada to the United States while attention is focused on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL project. [Inside Climate News]

While all eyes are on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone. In fact, the project by Enbridge, Inc., Canada’s largest transporter of crude oil, would bring even more Canadian oil into the U.S. than the much-debated Keystone project.

Enbridge has already begun growing its existing pipeline infrastructure to increase the flow of Canadian and U.S.-produced oil into refineries and ports in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeastern Canada. The company’s plans have largely escaped public scrutiny, in part because its expansion has proceeded in many segments and phases.

Because Line 67 crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it needs a presidential permit from the State Department before it can be expanded. That’s the same kind of permit TransCanada is seeking for the northern segment of Keystone XL. The Obama administration is expected to approve or deny the Keystone permit by the end of 2013. For Enbridge, the application process has just begun….

The Interior Department will announce plans for the first federal offshore wind lease sale, for a plot off the Atlantic coast. Secretary Sally Jewell said “if there is good interest in this one, then I think you will have this happening on a consistent basis.” [The Hill]

Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away yesterday, leaving the Senate without one of its more tireless advocates on public health and getting the U.S. off fossil fuels. [Washington Post, ThinkProgress]

It is unclear when the drought that began in Texas in 2010 will end. [NPR]

A new study suggests demands for water will make it more difficult for the United States to meet current biofuel goals if the climate continues to change. [Houston Chronicle]

Now that Alaska has lowered its tax rate on oil, BP is planning $1 billion in additional investments in the state. [Bloomberg]

Leaks in the production and delivery of natural gas threaten to undermine any of the fuel’s climate benefits, according to a report. [Bloomberg News]

Airline companies encompassing 85 percent of worldwide air traffic are urging governments to adopt a a market-based plan to offset carbon emissions from aircraft. [Reuters]

Thousands of people have evacuated as heavy rains over the last week drove flooding throughout Central Europe. [NYTimes]

A new study says regular grazing by reindeer cuts down on climate change by exposing more barren tundra, thus reflecting more sunlight energy. [UUTISET]

The Coral Restoration Foundation is planting coral nurseries off the cost of Florida. [WaPo]

The first grid-connected offshore floating wind turbine in the United States is now afloat off the cost of Maine. [Forbes]

More weather whiplash hit the Central Plains and Mississippi River Valley over the weekend, bringing record spring rainfall to areas that just endured two years of drought. [Climate Central]

Climate activist and writer Bill McKibben has a new piece on the global threat posed by the Australian coal industry. [The Monthly]

Google just announced it will buy wind power from Sweden to power its data center in Finland. [Gigaom]