Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted November 6, 2015
With President Obama’s unfortunate decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, look for a number of reports and analyses advancing the notion that the president’s decision is a “stunning defeat” for our industry, Canada and members of Congress who support the project. We disagree.
Canadian oil sands development that Keystone XL would have helped facilitate will continue. As an IHS study detailed earlier this year, oil sands production is critically important to North American supply and U.S. security, and it will go on – as will efforts to get Keystone XL off the drawing board, built and operating – creating jobs and increasing energy security.
The real defeat in the president’s decision has been inflicted on the American people. It’s their present and future that have been dealt a severe blow by a White House that ultimately valued out-of-the-mainstream political interests over the national interest.
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 July 10, 2015
Here’s one takeaway from IHS’ new research report on Canadian oil sands: Thank goodness for Canada and its oil sands.
Along with our own domestic energy renaissance, oil sands imports from our northern neighbor and ally are growing America’s energy security. Oil sands crude is critically important now and will be into the future, IHS says – which is why we here in the United States should be ever so grateful for our energy partnership with Canada and attentive to ways that relationship can be strengthened.
Yes, that’s a reference to the long-languishing Keystone XL pipeline. If we’re serious about oil sands development – and IHS’ report strongly suggests Americans should be – then we should quit politicking to death the single biggest infrastructure project at hand that would facilitate oil sands transportation to the U.S.
Posted July 6, 2015
Another sign of the times on the Keystone XL pipeline: South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is weighing pipeline builder TransCanada’s request for a reissued construction permit because the company’s original permit died of old age – victimized by the White House’s failure to decide on Keystone XL despite nearly seven years of review.
That’s right. TransCanada’s first construction permit for the 314 miles of the pipeline that would cross South Dakota expired last summer. You could say the cause of death was neglect – neglect by the White House, with its Keystone XL review approaching the seven-year mark this fall.
So, TransCanada seeks a reissued permit. The PUC is scheduled to hold a public input session Monday night, followed by evidentiary hearings July 27 and Aug. 4.
A couple of points. The first is to underscore again the absurd and unfair way the White House has kept Keystone XL in suspended animation, causing a state construction permit that’s good for four years to lapse. The second is to point out that the economic and energy merits of building Keystone XL – for South Dakota and the U.S. – remain unchanged, basically unchallenged by pipeline opponents.
Posted July 6, 2015
USA Today (editorial) – Fracking — the practice of cracking open underground oil and gas formations with water, sand and chemicals — has rescued U.S. energy production from a dangerous decline. Any debate about banning it should take a hard look at what that would cost the nation and at facts that aren't always part of the discussion.
Those facts are spelled out in a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency on fracking and groundwater. One of the harshest charges against fracking, often leveled with apocalyptic intensity by its foes, is that it indiscriminately contaminates vital drinking water supplies.
The EPA's timely report essentially said that's overblown.
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 June 5, 2015
OK, so EPA says safe hydraulic fracturing isn’t a threat to the nation’s drinking water. That’s great news for America’s energy revolution, which is being driven by advanced fracking and horizontal drilling. Without them there’s no revolution and certainly fewer jobs and less economic opportunity. Thanks, EPA, for following the science and recognizing – as industry has for some time, producing specific best practices for fracking – that the focus should be on continually improving safe operations and advancing technologies. These will help ensure our energy revolution goes forward.
Now, let’s talk about another country’s energy revolution – one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the U.S. beyond the unfortunate, protracted debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada’s own energy revolution is at the heart of the U.S.-Canadian relationship and is so integral to U.S. security. The vitality of Canadian energy is something more Americans should care about, as it bears directly and indirectly on our lives in a number of ways.
Posted June 3, 2015
The question posed to Dominion Energy President Diane Leopold was about “Keystonization” – referring to the tactical use of protests, process and procedural delays and legal challenges to block safe energy development and key infrastructure projects.
Leopold knows the terrain well. Despite a small but vocal group of opponents, Dominion Energy recently won federal approval to expand its Cove Point, Md., natural gas terminal to allow the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
At an event hosted by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) last month, Leopold cautioned that delay of the Keystone XL pipeline for more than six years has generally helped embolden opponents of energy infrastructure (see here, here and here) – making it more important than ever for energy companies to effectively communicate their plans and the benefits of their projects while exceling in community engagement.