Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 21, 2013
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, explaining in a Washington Post op-ed why a self-identified “pro-pipeline senator” opposes the Keystone XL pipeline:
As a former mayor of Richmond, a city with a gas utility, I think it makes no sense to be anti-pipeline. But I oppose the Keystone XL project. Although the president’s decision is technically over whether to allow a pipeline to deliver oil from Alberta to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the real issue isn’t the pipeline. It’s the wisdom of using tar sands oil. … By most accounts, oil from tar sands is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum, and the process of extracting and refining it is more difficult and resource-intensive. With so many cleaner alternatives, there is no reason to embrace the use of a dirtier fuel source. Approving the pipeline would send a clear signal to the markets to expand the development of tar sands oil. Such an expansion would hurt our nation’s work to reduce carbon emissions. We have to make energy cleaner tomorrow than it is today. That’s why the president should block Keystone. … Tar sands oil is the opposite of an innovative, make-it-cleaner approach. It represents a major backslide.
Sen. Kaine is right on a number of energy issues – supporting more offshore drilling for oil and natural gas as well as more natural gas development from hydraulic fracturing – but on the Keystone XL he’s just wrong. Let’s take a closer look.
Posted June 20, 2013
One hundred forty-five of the president’s 2012 campaign staffers have written a letter to their former boss urging him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline:
“We trust you to make the right decision after you weigh all arguments, but one thing you taught us as organizers is that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. … You can help cement your legacy as a climate champion by rejecting this pipeline. You already know all the reasons we can’t afford this pipeline – that it will lock in gigatons of carbon pollution over the next four decades and that it could spill into our nation’s most valuable water sources – we’re just asking you to think of us as you make up your mind.”
Posted June 20, 2013
Fuel Fix Blog – IEA: U.S. Natural Gas Output to Accelerate Next Year
A new estimate from the International Energy Agency says that 2014-2018 domestic natural gas production will increase thanks to expanded hydraulic fracturing. U.S. shale production increased six-fold to 265 billion cubic meters last year from 45 billion in 2007.
CNBC’s top states for business ranking reflects a reordering because of a U.S. energy surge that “has literally transformed the financial landscape of the central corridor; creating jobs and rising incomes." According to CNBC, this points to the importance of policies that encourage more energy development. "The reality is, California could reap the same shale-oil and shale-gas bounties now benefiting North Dakota. Politicians simply choose not to."
Posted May 15, 2013
Lots to like in President Obama’s remarks earlier this week from New York:
“When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years. And so the idea of the United States being energy independent – which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago – now is actually a possibility.”
As well as those from Texas earlier this month, where he talked about job creation and driving economic momentum:
“… we've got to make America a magnet for good jobs. … And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet. And we’re poised for a time of progress – if we’re willing to seize it. … American energy is booming. But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.”
Posted May 1, 2013
Each of the State Department’s four reviews of the Keystone XL pipeline – during the more than four years the project has been under consideration – focused primarily on the Keystone XL’s impacts on the environment: air, ground and surface water, wetlands, vegetation, wildlife and more. State went beyond the Keystone XL itself, evaluating the environmental impact of oil sands crude that would be delivered through it – as well as the impacts on Canada.
Bottom line: Each review came to the same conclusion – the Keystone XL’s construction and operation will not significantly impact the environment. From the most recent State assessment, issued in March:
The analyses of potential impacts associated with construction and normal operation of the proposed Project suggest that there would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed Project route …
Posted April 25, 2013
The Keystone XL pipeline is squarely in President Obama’s court. He should approve the full project – for the jobs, economic lift and strengthened energy security this shovel-ready project would provide for our country. (Photo below by Joe Wertz/StateImpact Oklahoma)
Posted April 23, 2013
The EPA was out yesterday with a letter urging yet even more delay for the Keystone XL pipeline – a project that already has been thoroughly reviewed by the State Department over more than four and a half years. In that context, EPA’s simply trying to heap delay on top of delay. Let's have a look at the first of EPA’s objections to State’s latest review:
The DSEIS reports that lifecycle GHG emissions from oil sands crude could be 81% greater than emissions from the average crude refined in the U.S. in 2005 on a well-to-tank basis, and 17% greater on a well-to-wheels basis.This difference may be even greater depending on the assumptions made.
Sounds ominous, but it’s also true that the difference could be even less, depending on the assumptions. Take the government of Alberta’s assessment:
Posted April 22, 2013
On the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama’s decision boils down to this: Is the $7 billion project in the United States’ national interest? Economic, energy and environmental considerations figure into the answer, but ultimately the president is charged with determining whether Keystone XL will make our country stronger and safer without significantly impacting the environment and the people along its 1,179-mile route.
We say yes – for a number of good reasons.
Posted April 18, 2013
Listen to the pleas for approval of the full Keystone XL project – from people who’ve been waiting more than four years for the jobs and economic benefits construction of the pipeline would bring:
“We just want jobs. … A key part of the election was the economy. We need the jobs.”
“Delaying it any further is just harming the United States of America, and it’s harming the workers that are skilled and trained and ready to get to work.”
“Mr. President, I hope you stand behind your word and support labor, and you get behind the pipeline and you give American workers a job.”
“I’d have more money to support my family, I’d have a better Christmas, I’d have a better life.”
Posted April 12, 2013
To hear the other side, you’d think the Keystone XL pipeline project would be nearly 1,200 miles of all pain, no gain for the United States. No rewards? The U.S. State Department has reviewed the Keystone XL four times now and finds rewards aplenty. While Keystone XL opponents don’t like State’s fourth favorable analysis any more than they liked the previous three, they should pay attention nonetheless. Let’s go down the list:
Jobs: Opponents minimize the number and duration of Keystone XL-associated jobs. State says:“Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2-year construction period