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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Politics vs. Jobs – EPA and Keystone XL Edition

keystone xl pipeline  environmental protection agency  epa  state department  transcanada  canadian oil sands  oil imports  trade 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 6, 2015

EPA’s 13th-hour ambush of the Keystone XL pipeline and the project’s environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department looks like more of the political gamesmanship the Obama administration has used to keep the pipeline on hold for more than six years. But perhaps EPA overplayed its hand.

As we pointed out, EPA’s letter urging officials to “revisit” the State Department’s Keystone XL conclusions is awkwardly and perhaps suspiciously late. State has done five separate environmental reviews, with the last one completed more than a year ago. This week, while other involved federal agencies weighed in on the pipeline’s merits from a national-interest standpoint, EPA lobbied to revisit established science

Second, the agency’s assertion that the current global price of oil affects the State Department’s environmental conclusion – that Keystone XL would have no significant impact – is oddly at odds with the agency’s position that the current global price of oil has no effect on EPA’s own policymaking decisions.   

Third, EPA did some manipulating of what State said about Keystone XL’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions – its letter citing only the largest numbers in State’s range of possible effects. A reasonable conclusion is that there’s a whiff of politics, for strategic effect, in EPA’s doings.

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Getting Our Energy Policy Right

american energy  policy  biofuels  ethanol  rfs34  fracking  keystone xl pipeline 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted February 5, 2015

Denver Post Editorial: Yet another major environmental organization has concluded that biofuels, including ethanol, are a net detriment to the world — both in environmental and economic terms. The World Resources Institute (WRI) "recommends against dedicating land to produce bioenergy. The lesson: do not grow food or grass crops for ethanol or diesel or cut down trees for electricity." Why? The group, based in Washington, D.C., says converting plants into fuel is a terribly inefficient use of land, can never produce a major portion of the world's supplies, and puts pressure on cropland that is needed to feed the world's growing population, among other things.

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EPA vs. EPA – Keystone XL Round

epa  keystone xl pipeline  politics  science  oil markets  renewable fuel standard 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted February 5, 2015

Two of the Environmental Protection Agency’s seven statements of purpose reference “best available scientific information” and “accurate information.”  These also happen to be two things that many in Washington, D.C., feel that EPA is setting aside in the pursuit of political goals.  Yesterday the agency released comments on the Keystone XL pipeline that gave plenty of credence to its critics.

It is somewhat of a shame, because EPA’s comments did make many good points.  It acknowledged the comprehensiveness of the State Departments review of the project, the usefulness of mitigation measures the project will take to reduce environmental impact and the reduction of risks associated with spills and leaks from the pipeline.  And then we begin to drift from accurate information into political calculation. 

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EPA and Prolonging Keystone XL’s Review

keystone xl pipeline  environmental protection agency  epa  economic benefits  canadian oil sands  greenhouse gas emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 3, 2015

After more than six years of delaying, blocking, sidetracking and goalpost-shifting on the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House clearly knows something about political football – specifically, using all of the above to keep Keystone XL on the drawing board and out of the ground.

It’s not a game to the American workers who’ve seen coveted jobs delayed, nor is it fun for the entire country, in terms of blocked economic stimulus and sidetracked energy security.

Now EPA is tagging in with an out-of-left-field assessment of the State Department’s final environmental review. We say that because State’s environmental report was completed a year ago – making five reviews that all basically said Keystone XL would not significantly impact the environment, climate or otherwise.  

While other involved federal agencies recently weighed in on the pipeline’s importance to U.S. national interests, EPA – at the 13th hour – says current crude oil prices make it important to “revisit” State’s environmental conclusions.

Nonsense.

Unfortunately, for an administration that has practically made a badge of honor out of stiff-arming Keystone XL – in the face of bipartisan congressional support and the broad favor of the American people – EPA is simply providing another excuse for the White House to continue doing nothing.

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U.S. Energy – For Jobs, Government Revenue, More Trade

american energy  Economy  jobs  trade  manufacturing  exports  policy  ethanol  rfs34  keystone xl pipeline  fracking 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted February 3, 2015

NPR: As the economy continues to recover, economists are seeing stark differences between people with high school and college degrees. Four-year college graduates are nearly twice as likely to have a job compared to Americans who just graduated high school and stopped there. But economists say that doesn't mean everybody needs a four-year degree. In fact, millions of good-paying jobs are opening up in the trades. And some pay better than what the average college graduate makes.

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Yes, Keystone XL is in the National Interest

keystone xl pipeline  economic benefits  jobs creation  president obama  canadian oil sands  bakken shale  trade  infrastructure  senate  congress 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 31, 2015

The long trail of “process” excuses for not approving the Keystone XL pipeline is coming to an end.

Five U.S. State Department reviews – all of them basically saying Keystone XL won’t significantly affect the environment – done.

Public hearings – done.

A new pipeline route through Nebraska – done.

By Monday, federal agencies must weigh in on whether Keystone XL is in the national interest. It is, as we’ll get into below.

The point is, after more than six years of process and review by the White House, we’ve come to the end of the processing and the reviewing. The administration stretched to 76 months a pipeline approval process that typically takes 18 to 24 months. It turned Keystone XL into a political football, punted here and there for reasons that clearly weren’t in the national interest.

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Video: Time to Build Keystone XL

keystone xl pipeline  economic benefits  president obama  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 28, 2015

A new video captures quite well the game of political football involving the Keystone XL pipeline, a game of overtime that’s making Americans wait for jobs, economic benefits and greater energy security. Some might call it deflating.

Points underscored by the video: The White House is responsible for delaying a shovel-ready infrastructure project that would support more than 42,000 jobs during construction, according to the U.S. State DepartmentKeystone XL would put $2 billion in workers’ pockets and add $3.4 billion to U.S. GDP – again, according to the State Department. Keystone XL has cleared five separate environmental reviews – with the conclusion that the project wouldn’t significantly affect the environment, climate or otherwise. The project would strengthen America’s energy security, bringing oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to the Gulf Coast for processing by U.S. refineries.

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American Energy Benefits You and Me

american energy  Economy  jobs  fracking  keystone xl pipeline  Energy Security  lng exports 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 27, 2015

TribLIVE: Specialized, experienced engineers are becoming a tough get in Western Pennsylvania as the gas drilling industry outpaces the growth of an experienced talent pool. Stock awards, sign-on bonuses, unlimited vacation and travel stipends are increasingly becoming necessary for companies looking to attract top candidates, recruiters say. “Sometimes, we get so lost in it, they have so much they're trying to offer and entice them with,” said Frank Civitate, founder and president of Synergy Staffing, based in Pittsburgh. “The fact of the matter is everyone is looking for the same types of folks.”

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Keystone XL and Trade

keystone xl pipeline  economic growth  canadian oil sands  trade  exports  imports  infrastructure  president obama  state department 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 22, 2015

During his State of the Union speech President Obama talked about expanding trade and building up the middle class. Both good objectives. And, while a president’s annual message to Congress usually is full of goals that are mostly aspirational, both of these are attainable – through energy.

First, the president could work to end the ban on the export of domestic crude oil, a relic of the 1970s and an era of U.S. energy scarcity. A supply of light sweet crude, mismatched for a refinery sector largely configured to handle heavier crudes, would be able to reach overseas markets. This would help support domestic production and jobs – many of them well-paying middle-class jobs – while benefitting our trade balance.

Likewise, the administration could stop slow-walking approvals for planned U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities to export LNG to non-free trade agreement nations – again, spurring domestic production and jobs and improving America’s trade bottom line.

Both would increase the U.S. presence in global energy markets – expanding world supply, helping allies and strengthening American foreign policy – all consistent with our country’s status as an energy superpower.

Second and more specifically, the president could approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s needed energy infrastructure that would bring more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada and the U.S. Midwest, support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs – good middle-class jobs – and help strengthen the U.S. energy/trading relationship with Canada, our No. 1 source of imported oil.

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Energy Rhetoric vs. Action

energy policies  keystone xl pipeline  president obama  state of the union  oil and natural gas development  state of american energy  Jack Gerard  economic benefits  state department  canadian oil sands 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 21, 2015

In a State of the Union address that mostly skimmed over energy issues – remarkable, given the generational opportunities stemming from America’s ongoing energy revolution – President Obama still underscored the yawning disconnect between his all-of-the-above energy rhetoric and his administration’s failure to put that rhetoric into action.

Talking about the need for infrastructure investment, the president said:

“Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan ... infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year and make this country stronger for decades to come. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done.”

We agree. America’s infrastructure needs are greater than a single oil pipeline – the political football known as the Keystone XL – which the president has been punting around for more than six years.

But there’s no good reason, no good excuse, for not making the Keystone XL pipeline Job No. 1 in a procession of infrastructure projects. President Obama hasn’t offered any beyond calling “temporary” the 42,100 jobs the U.S. State Department has said Keystone XL would support. Yet, those jobs are no more temporary than the ones that would be supported by building bridges, roads and other projects the president routinely cites.

That’s the disconnect between what President Obama peddles in speeches to Congress and around the country – and what his administration is doing.

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