Skip to comments.Keystone pipeline inches forward
Posted on 01/07/2013 5:07:09 AM PST by thackney
The rerouted northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline between Hardisty and Steele City, Neb., moved back into the spotlight Friday after a report from the state's department of environmental quality said the project would have "minimal" ecological impacts.
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman said he would "carefully review" the 2,000page evaluation and make a decision within 30 days. His recommendation would be forwarded to the U.S. State Department, which is expected to issue its final report to President Barack Obama, who rejected an earlier iteration of the 3,460-kilometre TransCanada Corp. pipeline about one year ago.
The new report covers the reworking of the 1,900-kilometre northern leg, which was opposed by Nebraska residents because it cut through the fragile Sand Hills region. The report says the revised route avoids the Sand Hills region, an ecologically sensitive area made up of grass-covered sand dunes.
However, it would still cross the Ogallala aquifer, a crucial drinking water source for the American heartland.
"Impacts on aquifers from a release should be localized and Keystone would be responsible for any cleanup," the report states, adding the new route avoids "many areas of fragile soils in northern Nebraska" and a shallow groundwater area.
TransCanada Corp. spokesman Grady Semmens said the company has not yet reviewed the Nebraska report.
"We have made significant strides to work with Nebraskans to identify the safest route possible for this pipeline project and we look forward to hearing from Governor Heineman regarding this report," he said.
"Safety remains our top priority. We will maintain a Nebraska-based emergency preparedness program with a response team in place, ready to react should an incident occur.
"The safety of the entire pipeline is our responsibility for as long as it operates. It's a responsibility we take very seriously."
The environmental department found that because of the mitigation and commitments promised by TransCanada, the pipeline would have "minimal environmental impacts."
The report said the project would pump $418 million into the state economy and generate about $13 million in tax revenue each year.
It also studied the various types of oil that would be carried in the line - including Bakken crude, synthetic crude and diluted bitumen - and concluded that the bitumen-based crudes "are similar in many respects to other heavy sour crude oil."
Four public information sessions were part of the Nebraska review process and Alberta's International and Intergovernmental Relations department spokesman Mark Cooper said the province had staff on hand at those events. But since the work focused on the proposed rerouting of the pipeline, the Alberta government did not directly engage in the process.
"We acknowledge that this is just one step in a U.S. decision-making process, but we are very pleased to see that the report addresses many of the environmental concerns from people in Nebraska, as well as the positive impact on the Nebraska economy," said Cooper.
"I think it's also important to point out the report also found that oilsands production included diluted bitumen as comparable to other crudes moving through other pipelines and doesn't warrant special consideration," he added.
The BOLD Nebraska group, which opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, said the state report "failed to address the serious concerns" expressed by many.
"Governor Heineman asked President Obama to deny the pipeline permit because the route crossed the Ogallala Aquifer," said BOLD Nebraska executive director Jane Kleeb. "We look forward to the governor denying the route since it still crosses the aquifer, and since the risks to our state's economy and identity remain at the forefront of this fight. The bottom line remains: why are we risking our water - the main source of our state's economy - for a foreign export pipeline?"
Maybe because we need the oil????
When you look at a map of the existing pipeline crossing the Ogallala Aquifer, you realize what nonsense that fear is:
Here’s a chance for Hagel to stand up for his home state. But don’t hold your breath.
I lived for thirty years with a pipeline running through my front yard. Other than the time that I came within a few feet from uncovering the pipeline while bulldozing a driveway, I never even considered that it was there. My family and I slept soundly, knowing that much needed energy was flowing beneath our land.
“Jeff Rubin: How big is Canadas oil subsidy to the U.S.?”
We should build some refineries.
You will want some product pipelines as well or you will have the same discounted price paid for gasoline and diesel as Canada does now for oil.
So refineries without product pipelines just means spending billions without solving the problem.
The Feds are planning one to the west coast, for now, with enviro-nazis fighting every step, as usual. From there we can ship to China. /pipe dream
That is an oil, not a product pipeline.
Couldn’t we build refineries, and use trains and trucks to start?
If trains and trucks could move that volume economically, why are they not doing it today with the oil?
I don’t think you realize the volume a pipeline delivers.
Agreed about my conception of pipelines.
Refined product has a higher profit margin than raw oil, but I don’t know if it’s economically practical to transport smaller amounts.
Our biggest problem is the environazis and liberal courts. They tie us up, but only because we allow it. I wish we could build it, and then let them sue us.
That is not true. Refined product has a very small margin from the Refinery. Don't included the taxes when comparing the difference in cost.
economically practical to transport smaller amounts.
Actually, you have to transport larger amounts of the products than the crude. Refineries produce more than gasoline and diesel. You get significant amounts of sulfur, residual oil, petroleum coke, plastic feedstock, etc. As the cracking process of a refinery splits the larger molecules, there is an increase in volume. Waste products, low value products all have to be handled. And most of the petrochemical plants that take some of those are on the gulf coast.
Our biggest problem is the environazis and liberal courts.