Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted November 10, 2015
It’s too bad that when President Obama finally announced his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, he turned his back on American jobs, economic growth and increased energy security – each of them compelling, “national interest” reasons for building the pipeline. Also unfortunate is that the president also turned his back on science and fact.
Read the State Department’s final word on Keystone XL, and you see that State, as it said in its previous environmental reviews, acknowledges that the pipeline would have little to no climate impact.
The Keystone XL rejection was about perceptions and appearances – perceptions the president and his administration created, detached from science and fact set forth in State’s analysis, to help cultivate the appearances of climate change leadership.
Throughout Keystone XL’s tortuous, seven-year slog at the White House, the pipeline – this pipeline – was a symbol, a foil the administration used to help keep the professional activist class activated and the world climate community applauding.
Posted September 23, 2015
At some point during the past seven years the Keystone XL pipeline ceased to exist only as an important project of energy infrastructure – one that could generate jobs, economic growth and strengthen U.S. energy security – and became a symbol for a narrow ideological agenda, a political football the White House has endlessly punted around to suit its own political needs. Little surprise, then, that Hillary Clinton has decided to join in the KXL kicking.
Posted September 17, 2015
This Saturday marks a dubious anniversary: seven years since the first permit application was filed to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Given the typical process for a federal cross-border pipeline approval, Keystone XL should have started pumping oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region years ago. For purely political reasons, Keystone XL has languished with the Obama administration for seven years now – denying significant energy, economic and national security benefits to the United States.
The months and years come and go, and yet American public support for Keystone XL has remained a constant – underscoring the political nature of the White House’s mishandling of the project. A new poll of registered voters found 68 percent of Americans want the pipeline built – compared to 21 percent opposed. The result is similar to this poll last fall as well as polls in April 2014, December 2013, April 2013, February 2012 and others. This is consensus. With the American people, Keystone XL is a settled issue.
Posted July 28, 2015
As a pending energy issue whose lack of resolution is penalizing U.S. consumers and U.S. energy security, the Keystone XL pipeline may be unsurpassed in its importance.
It’s a $5.4 billion piece of strategic energy infrastructure that unfortunately has become a political football during nearly seven years of White House delay. It’s delay not based on Keystone XL’s energy and economic merits or its climate impacts – all exhaustively analyzed by five U.S. State Department reviews (latest one here). Rather, the project has been delayed because of an extreme, off-oil agenda whose proponents made a privately financed infrastructure project that this country needs into a political symbol.
Posted June 24, 2015
A few observations on an Energy Department-funded study that reportedly asserts Canadian oil sands will yield significantly greater emissions than conventional crude oil. We say “reportedly,” because the study itself isn’t out yet, just the abstract. Even so, the Wall Street Journal breathlessly says the “findings provide ammunition to foes of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and other critics of surging Canadian oil output.”
Now, take a deep breath.
We’ve posted on this claim before. President Obama brought it up a couple months ago to justify more than six years of delaying a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by the White House. Certainly, assigning alarming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to oil sands boosts an anti-KXL, anti-oil sands position. But it’s a faulty comparison.
Posted May 13, 2015
The Hill: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) have introduced a bill to lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.
The bill would fulfill one of Murkowski’s biggest energy priorities and allow American oil companies to export crude oil as they do petroleum products. It would also allow exports of condensate, a type of light crude oil.
“America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically since the export ban was put in place in the 1970s. We have moved from energy scarcity to energy abundance. Unfortunately, our energy policies have not kept pace,” Murkowski said in a statement.
“This legislation builds from bipartisan ideas, linking energy security and infrastructure to expanding exports and helping our allies. Our nation has an opportunity to embrace its role as a global energy powerhouse, sending a signal to the world that we are open for business and will stand by our friends in need.”
Posted May 12, 2015
Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles participated in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Leadership Series last week with a luncheon address and a Q&A session with Linda Harbert of the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Highlights of the conversation below. Suttles joined Alberta-based Encana as president and CEO in June 2013. He has 30 years of oil and natural gas industry experience in various engineering and leadership roles. Before joining Encana, Suttles held a number of leadership posts with BP, including chief operating officer of BP Exploration & Production and BP Alaska president.
Q: You opened your talk by saying I’m a North American energy company. … Can you shed a little light on the differences and similarities between operating in Canada and the U.S.?
Suttles: They’re not as big as many people would think. First of all, in the places we operate – Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and then Alberta and British Columbia – these are all natural resource states, and they understand that and I think the people and political leaders understand the importance, too. Both countries have high environmental expectations.
Probably the biggest difference you’d really see between them is the remoteness of operations, which creates a unique challenge in Canada. Many of our operations are away from large towns and cities … But you have an environment where I think people understand the benefits of our industry. They promote the industry, they support it.
Posted January 15, 2015
Facts and science over politics. That’s the way energy policy should be made. Too many policy matters in the energy space are being hijacked by politics. The Keystone XL pipeline is one example, as are some of the regulatory initiatives the administration is pushing right now. That’s not the way to craft good energy policy.
Keystone XL has been stuck on the drawing board more than six years because it was turned into a political football by the White House. Cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL historically have gained approval in 18 to 24 months. We’re at 76 months and counting for political reasons, not because of compelling scientific and economic analysis – as advanced in the five reviews conducted by the U.S. State Department.
Keystone XL finally has reached the debate stage in the Senate, but the White House is threatening to veto legislation that would advance the project. More politics, more delay, more missed opportunity for American workers and U.S. energy security.
Posted January 10, 2015
Throughout the Keystone XL pipeline’s long wait for federal approval, President Obama has used one excuse after another to deflect responsibility for blocking a project that polls in the 70s with the American people, one that would support thousands of U.S. jobs and help move the country closer to North American energy security. All along the way the president could have exercised his authority to say yes to all of the above but deferred instead.
The president said environmental questions needed answers, and they were provided by his own State Department, which cleared Keystone XL in five separate environmental reviews.
The president said the cross-border approval process – required because Keystone XL would cross the U.S.-Canadian border – needed to run its course. It did and then some, stretching now to more than six years when historically, cross-border approvals are granted in 18 to 24 months.
The president said Nebraska needed to work out the pipeline’s route through that state, which it did. Then the president said the state’s Supreme Court would have to settle a legal challenge over the re-routing process.
On Friday, Nebraska’s high court rejected that challenge, confirming the assessment of the state Department of Environmental Quality and the governor’s recommendation to the State Department – leaving the project with only one remaining obstacle: President Obama.
Posted January 8, 2015
With legislation to advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline moving ahead in the Senate, potentially attracting a misguided veto from President Obama, some important numbers:
76 – The number of months Keystone XL has been blocked by the Obama administration. Historically, approvals for cross-border pipeline projects take 18 to 24 months. Keystone XL’s history is something quite different – the story of how a shovel-ready infrastructure project was needlessly hijacked by politics.
830,000 – The number of barrels of North American oil per day that would flow through Keystone XL to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, the vast majority of which would be turned into valuable fuel products.
42,100 – The number of U.S. jobs that would be supported during Keystone XL’s construction. That’s not industry’s number. That’s the number coming from President Obama’s own State Department. When he and others dismiss the project’s jobs impact, it reveals a serious lack of understanding of the way large infrastructure construction creates a positive ripple across the economy in terms of direct jobs, indirect jobs and induced jobs – all of which the White House fully appreciated when it was making the case for its federal stimulus package in 2009.
5 – The number of Keystone XL environmental reviews conducted by President Obama’s own Department of State.
5 – The number of State Department environmental reviews that have concluded Keystone XL would have no significant climate impact.
2 – The number of Pinocchios just awarded by the Washington Post’s Fact Checker to claims that Keystone XL will negatively impact the environment and that it would only be only a conduit for oil to be shipped overseas. (This follows the Three Pinocchios given to President Obama last fall for saying oil transported by Keystone XL would go “everywhere else” but the U.S. Bottom line, that’s a lot of Pinocchios.)