By my last count, we’re now somewhere in the “March 2014”-ish territory for the date by which the Obama administration will finally-maybe-possibly-probably-not deliver their final review of and ultimate verdict on the Keystone XL pipeline, the northern extension of the already-constructed Keystone pipeline that will ship oil sands from Canada (as well as oil-and-gas products from North Dakota!) to refineries on our southern coast. The project’s crossing of international boundaries means that it falls under the jurisdiction of the State Department, and the Obama administration has now been “reviewing” the project for nigh on five years while the self-titled environmentalist movement has been trying their darndest to transform the issue into the End-All, Be-All Climate-Change Flashpoint Of Our Time.
While wealthy progressive donors and eco-lobbyists galore have glommed on to effort, the general public at large hasn’t been quite as galvanized by their hysterical and misleading claims about the pipeline’s impact, as the latest poll on the subject confirms yet again. Via Bloomberg:
A Bloomberg National Poll shows support for the $5.4 billion link between Alberta’s oil sands and U.S. Gulf Coast refineries remains strong, with 56 percent of respondents viewing it as a chance to reduce dependence on oil imports from less reliable trading partners. That compares with the 35 percent who say they see it more as a potential source of damaging oil spills and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
A push by environmental groups against the project may be affecting public opinion: 58 percent of poll respondents say they want Canada to take steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a condition for approval, with 32 percent opposing such a requirement.
“It’s cautious optimism that this would be something that would improve U.S. energy security, outweighing the concerns,” says J. Ann Selzer, whose Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. surveyed 1,004 U.S. adults from Dec. 6-9. “But obviously if you can stem the concerns, why wouldn’t you?”
That caveat of having Canada take some steps to otherwise guard against climate change is always going to be there — just about anybody, upon being asked whether a bureaucracy should take steps to try to mitigate any negative environmental impacts, will of course say yes — but the message here is that the Keystone XL pipeline is absolutely not the large-scale controversy environmentalists want it to be, and that the United States & Friends are undergoing an energy boom for which we need to allow the private sector to provide the adequate infrastructure, and soon. The pipeline method of transport is much greener and safer than the alternate methods now being employed in the pipeline’s absence, and considering that Canada’s oil sands are coming out of the ground with or without it, the Obama administration really needs to quit the stalling and start making moves to bolster our energy sector and subsequently our overall economy.
But let that not deter the determined environmentalist crowd; on Thursday, a group of Democrats sent a letter to President Obama discouraging him from moving forward on the pipeline until that manufactured “conflict of interest” crisis is resolved.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, took the lead on the letter expressing “serious concerns about conflicts of interest” related to the consulting firm that authored the most recent environmental impact analysis, which downplayed environmental and safety concerns. As The Huffington Post has previously reported, after contractor Environmental Resources Management wrote the report on Keystone XL, it was discovered that some of the consultants involved in the analysis had done previous work for the company seeking to build the pipeline, TransCanada. They had also done work for a TransCanada subsidiary and for other oil companies that could benefit from the pipeline’s construction. Documents released via a Freedom of Information Act Request showed that the company had not disclosed the previous work in its conflict of interest statement. …
The members of Congress wrote Thursday that it “would be unwise and premature” for the State Department to release a final environmental impact analysis from ERM while the investigation is ongoing. The letter also accuses the company of “lying to federal officials about its ties to TransCanada and over a dozen oil companies with a direct stake in whether or not Keystone XL gets approved.”
Rep. Grijalva. This guy. That is all.
And, by the way, I might add that the southern portion of the pipeline is already officially in action, via The Hill:
Oil is now being pumped into the controversial Keystone XL pipeline’s southern leg, which spans from Oklahoma to the Texas coast, The Houston Chronicle reports.
“TransCanada is pleased to confirm that at approximately 10:04 am Central Time on Saturday, December 7, 2013, the company began to inject oil into the Gulf Coast Project pipeline as it moves closer to the start of commercial service,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in an email, according to the Chronicle.