Canada Seeks Alternative To Keystone XL

If you have scant time and not enough to read the entire article, read the first paragraph to see how important Canada believes the pipeline to be.

The Following comes from EnergyWire:

Canada seeks alternatives to Keystone XL

Published: Friday, June 15, 2012

With the fate of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline still in limbo, Canadian officials and companies are seeking alternatives to transport the country’s nearly 200 billion barrels in oil reserves — almost the equivalent of Saudi Arabia’s — from Alberta.Oil companies say they are losing money from pipeline bottlenecks, so Canada is moving forward with plans to build pipelines of its own. To do that more quickly, the government is accelerating scheduled hearings and limiting public comment. Officials have also threatened to revoke the charitable status of environmental groups that challenge pipeline projects, even going so far as to classify environmentalists as potential sources of domestic terrorism, on par with white supremacists.
Truck hauling 36-Inch Pipe to build Keystone-C...

Truck hauling 36-Inch Pipe to build Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) south-east of Peabody, Kansas, USA. Location is Timber Rd and 20th St in Marion County. Looking south-west with rural Whitewater Center Church in background. Photo taken by Steve Meirowsky on July 10, 2010. Note: The rear wheels on this truck has independent steering. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Canada’s condemnations stem from President Obama’s January decision to reject a permit for Keystone XL. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would never again be “held hostage” to U.S. politics, adding that some Americans view his country as “one giant national park.” Oil that had once been destined for the U.S. Gulf Coast would now be sent to other countries, especially China, he said.

Three new pipeline networks have been proposed, two of which will branch out west from Alberta and the other east. Enbridge Inc.’s westward Northern Gateway Pipelines network would carry more oil than Keystone XL would, and it would bring it to Canada’s Pacific coast for export to Asia. But even with aggressive government backing, the new pipelines may prove just as difficult to build.

The lines would need to cross indigenous lands as well as British Columbia and Quebec, where public opinion tends to be against pipelines and fossil fuel development. The City Council in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently passed a motion requiring pipeline companies to assume full liability for the economic and environmental costs of a worst-case spill.

“It’s poetic justice that Vancouver, the birthplace of Greenpeace, stands between the last big oil deposit on Earth and the expanding markets in Asia,” said Ben West, campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, a consortium of environmental groups. “I’d anticipate it won’t get built for years.”

The U.S. Congress is not expected to revisit Keystone XL before next year, although its builder, TransCanada Corp., has reapplied for a permit. The United States could also be drawn into the fray over other routes, including Canada’s proposed eastern pipeline’s possible dip into a Portland, Maine, tanker port by way of Vermont. Such a project was proposed in 2008 but was dropped with the onset of the recession.

While a State Department spokesman said no one has inquired about reviving the project, New England residents are organizing against it.

Without a reliable exit, Canadian oil could continue to trade about $30 a barrel lower than other crudes, said Todd Nogier, an Enbridge spokesman. The company estimates its westbound network would increase the nation’s gross domestic product by $270 billion over 30 years. Chinese companies have already invested in Canadian oil sands.

Environmentalists say transport of bitumen, the form in which oil sands are exported, requires too many chemicals and emits too much carbon dioxide to be considered an economic fuel choice. A U.S. Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration report to determine whether bitumen is more corrosive and spill-prone than conventional crude is due next year (Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times, June 13). — PK

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