Montana Politics

Obama Administration Rejecting Keystone Pipeline

The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama Administration will be announcing it’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline today.

The Obama administration will announce this afternoon it is rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate a massive oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border, according to sources who have been briefed on the matter.

However the administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement, which comes in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action on the proposed Keystone pipeline.

This is a move sure to please many environmentalists, while irking (a big chunk of) labor, our two Senators, and our Governor.  It’s going to be very interesting to see all the reactions over the next 24 hours.

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  • It's really too bad that organized labor has bought fully into the argument that environmentalists cost jobs. There should be plenty of jobs for projects that do little or no harm the environment (rebuilding bridges, sewers, airports, schools, etc.). But the Republicans are blocking these while pushing the most damaging ones.

  • Great points Turner. Good to see that, at least for now, President Obama is on the right side of history regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and dirty tar sands oil. Here's some more general information on the issue.

    Interactive map of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project:

    TransCanada Inspector: Keystone XL Pipeline Not Safe

    • I think this decision makes those inevitable ads less useful, Mr. Johansson. Much to the annoyance of liberals in this state, Tester has generally stuck to his guns and voted with the majority of Montanans against the president a large part of the time. when Jon has a long list of things he has vocally disagreed with the president about, Montanans are more likely to look past party affiliation and look instead at the decision they have between two wildly unequal candidates.

      • Also, Matthew, for Tester being pro XL pipeline as a vast majority of Montanans are and seeing Obama give those Montanans the finger doesn't exactly point to Tester being effective.

        • Hello Craig: Unless "The Polish Wolf's" real name is also Matthew (which it very well could be) could you please stop addressing your questions to Matthew, because you're confusing me. Thanks!

            • "PW reveals his name"

              You make me sound like a spy! I haven't been truly anonymous for some time now – I continue to use the pen name for greater continuity, not to protect my identity. And to avoid being confused with Mr. Koehler.

  • I don't see anything here but strategic retreat. Sorry to rain on the parade, but he did not hammer any nails. He merely closed public viewing. This corpse is far from being buried,

    • The oil is there. There is a market for it. The most anyone can do is delay its development; the only way to nail the coffin is to remove the market for oil. Ceasing driving will have more of an effect on the tar sands than voting a particular way.. .though not voting is probably less helpful than either.

      I am glad to know you're sticking to your guns, though. Facts be damned, Obama is exactly like Bush!

      • I am aware of the facts and understand your ideas. You're not a fool. But i point out that if we use government to change the rules the facts change, and they adapt. We already have pipelines serving domestic needs, and this pipeline is a territorial intrusion for the sole purpose of exporting Canadian oil to non-American markets. We don't need to do that and can change the rules. Why not do it? They'll adapt. Markets do not rule. We,v via our government, do.

        • "and this pipeline is a territorial intrusion for the sole purpose of exporting Canadian oil to non-American markets. "

          From a purely diplomatic perspective, there is no justification for refusing the pipeline on these grounds. Just ask Russia (or Ukraine, for the other side of the story) – being a country of transit for fossil fuels puts one in a position of great economic and geopolitical leverage.

          • There is evidence out forth that They have greatly overstated the benefits of this project in terms of employment, and neglected to mention jobs that would disappear as a result of the pipeline.

            If there is no other reason to do this than to be diplomatic, then your argument is weak. Russia and the Ukraine were not known for Democratic procedures in place to allow for debate of such projects.

          • Yes, we must make America economically strong…just like the Ukraine!….Seriously, WTF?

            The following is a snip from the report, "Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed," available for download here:

            “In pushing for the Obama Administration’s approval of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the North American oil industry and its political patrons argue that the pipeline is necessary for American energy security and its construction will help wean America of dependence on Mideast oil. But a closer look at the new realities of the global oil market and at the companies who will profit from the pipeline reveals a completely different story: Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but rather transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets.”

            • I guess I should know better than to reference Eastern European politics without any background. Russia essentially has their hands around the throat of the rest of Europe because they control all the pipelines from Central Asia. Ukraine benefits from their own pipelines to the west because they can simply divert gas bound for Western Europe into their own stockpiles if Russia tries to cut them off. Nonetheless, it is the Russians who have the upper hand, and I don't think many would argue that Russia is not an economically powerful country.

              A situation where we control the pipeline , the refineries, and the point of entry to the world market for a new source of oil is an enviable one in diplomatic, strategic, and economic terms terms. The only downside is the environmental disaster that is the tar sands; however I think the environmental stakes are high enough that the environmental argument is all one really needs.

              • Actually the Trans Canadian Pipeline company has a fall back position.

                With all the easements in place including those thru the sensitive areas of Nebraska they can still build it from Baker MT to the Texas Gulf. Filling it of course with Bakken oil.

                Then when this enemy of progress loses his a$$ next fall the new adm. will finish the job of preparing to cross the international boundary.

          • Mark, has obviously got his facts quite wrong. As I posted above with a link, the pipeline would also have carried up to 150000 bbls. a day of US produced oil to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

            • Does that pipeline not already exist

              There is evidence put forth that hey have vastly overstated the benefits of this project in terms of employment in the letter down below. Was that GAO?

              • Mark, the XL pipeline to carry the Bakken oil does not exist. IF it did we wouldn't be having this conversation. 😉

                The current plan is to use rail cars.

                • I am talking about the building of a pipeline to carry Canadian tar crude to a port in Texas for export. They first tried to export it via BC, but they have some form of terrorist governance p ther, democracy or some such thing.. A pipeline into the Midwest alrwdy exists for other purposes. The new pipeline is being touted and confused with existing infrastructure, which would have been shut down and is now being reincorporated into the sales pitch. To sell the pipeline hey are lying about jobs and benefits. Once approved, those jobs and benefits will vanish.

                  Learn PR.

          • Here's an interesting letter signed by several Democratic lawmakers:

            President Barack Obama
            The White House
            1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
            Washington, DC 20500

            We write today to express our support that a Presidential Permit for the Keystone
            XL Pipeline Project is in America's national interest. This is based on the fact that the
            Keystone XL Pipeline will inject $20 billion of private sector investment into the
            American economy, create 20,000 direct jobs, spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs,
            payout $5 billion in taxes to local counties over the project's lifetime, bolster America's
            energy security and strengthen our national security. The project, which has bipartisan
            support in Congress, has also earned the support of local government officials in the
            states along the pipeline's route, labor unions, landowners, veterans' groups, Hispanic
            groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, energy policy experts, national security experts,
            editorial boards and Americans desperate to see economic growth take hold once again in
            our country.
            The Keystone XL Pipeline project is the subject of an exhaustive three-year,
            multi-agency review process, which the Department of State has led. This thorough and
            fair review has included an examination of the pipeline's impact on America's economy,
            environment, energy supply, national security, safety and routing. Among the agencies
            that the Department of State has coordinated and consulted with are the Departments of
            Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and
            Environmental Protection. The Department of State has also held more than 25 meetings
            with interested groups – both supporting and opposing the project. It has also obtained
            input from interested citizens across the country during the Environmental Impact
            Statement comment periods and the public meetings held throughout the country over the
            last few weeks
            The Department of State's Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirmed the
            findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone
            XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment. It should be noted that
            as a result of the comprehensive review process, the Keystone XL Pipeline will be
            subject to heighten safety measures. Since the pipeline is the subject of a Project Labor
            Agreement with four international unions, it will be constructed and maintained by the
            best-trained workforce in the world. We are confident that the Department of State's
            review process and the project operator's commitment to employing well-trained union
            workers will yield the most appropriately routed, safest and environmentally sound
            pipeline in our nation…

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