Is Fracking the Next Keystone?
It will be if grassroots environmentalists have their way.
The people who made the Keystone XL pipeline notorious are turning their targets to fracking, a drilling technique that's become a contentious catch-all phrase for America's oil and natural gas boom.
This shift has been percolating for a while, but its parameters are crystallizing. The Sierra Club announced today it will soon hold a rally against a facility in Cove Point, Md., which is poised to export natural gas in the coming years. Alongside a photo of that facility, anti-Keystone campaigner Bill McKibben recently wrote an op-ed criticizing natural gas as a means to combat global warming.
These environmentalists have a steep challenge. Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was quoted today saying fracking has always been done safely, repeating what many Obama administration officials have said before. But, Keystone wasn't controversial until environmentalists made it that way.
Five years from now, we may well look back on this time as the sunrise of the environmental movement's post-Keystone world.
P.S. Thanks for responding to this week's National Journal Energy Poll. Results are below!
TOP ENERGY NEWS
FORMER INTERIOR SECRETARY DEFENDS FRACKING, SUPPORTS KEYSTONE. Ken Salazar is out with comments saying that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a threat to the environment. He also said he would support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- Our take: Salazar battled with oil companies while he was at Interior, but his new comments could provide them a lift in the Keystone XL fight.
HOUSE GOP ABANDONS TYING DEBT CEILING TO KEYSTONE. House Republicans are back to the drawing board over what to do about the debt limit.
THE QUIETLY IMPORTANT KEYSTONE DATE. An upcoming meeting between President Obama and Canada's prime minister could bring fresh Capitol Hill action on the Keystone XL pipeline.
FEDS HIT OIL COMPANIES OVER CRUDE LABELING. The alleged violations arrive amid major concerns about the safety of rail shipments of crude oil.
A MONTH AFTER SPILL, "WEST VIRGINIANS NEED ANSWERS NOW." West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant tells a Senate panel that state residents are still concerned over potential water contamination after a chemical spill last month.
WHITE HOUSE LOOKS TO HARDEN FARM COUNTY AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE. Officials hope regional "climate hubs" can boost readiness for droughts, fire risks, and invasive pests.
EPA GETS FRESH BACKING IN BP SUSPENSION BATTLE. The advocacy group Public Citizen is battling BP's lawsuit to end its suspension from receiving new federal contracts.
BLOOMBERG STEPS INTO CLIMATE ROLE. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to rally for action on climate change ahead of a U.N. summit in September.
ASTEROID MINERS REACH K STREET ORBIT. Former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt is lobbying for a company that envisions mining asteroids.
GREEN GROUP SLAMS FORMER SENATOR IN AD. The League of Conservation Voters is out with an ad attacking former Sen. Scott Brown in the hopes of stopping Brown's potential Senate bid in New Hampshire in its tracks.
NJ POLL: ALMOST HALF PREDICT KEYSTONE APPROVAL. More than 48 percent of Energy Edge readers say President Obama is likely to approve the Keystone XL pipeline—and to do so before November's election, according to the latest National Journal Energy Poll. Only 15 percent expected him to do so after the election. Roughly a third disagreed substantially. Roughly 31 percent predicted the president would reject the pipeline after the election and 6 percent said he would do so beforehand.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…
SHOULD OBAMA GREEN-LIGHT KEYSTONE XL? Should President Obama approve or deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline?
"All across America, people are gathering to draw attention to the threat that the Keystone XL pipeline poses to clean air, clean water, public health, and the stability of our climate. Last night alone, thousands attended nearly 300 vigils in 49 states. This outpouring of hope and frustration came together in just a few days, in response to the release of a deeply flawed report by the State Department that underestimates the consequences of building this pipeline across the heart of the United States." -Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club
"To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Oil Spill Risk, the President Should Approve Keystone XL. That's the clear implication of the State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), published late last week. Anti-Keystone activists have pushed President Obama to base the national interest determination on a single issue – whether Keystone XL would increase incremental greenhouse gas emissions above the no-project baseline. Keystone foes assumed this single-factor test gives them a slam dunk. Oil sands extraction is more energy-intensive than conventional oil production. How could expanding infrastructure to bring such oil to market not increase greenhouse gas emissions? The FSEIS, however, concludes that Keystone XL is "unlikely to significantly affect" the rate of Canadian oil sands development." -Marlo Lewis, senior fellow, Center for Energy and Environment of the Competitive Enterprise Institute
CHINA ENERGY DISCUSSION. The Brookings Institution holds a discussion on China's clean-energy challenges.
ENERGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY DISCUSSION. The Center for New American Security holds a discussion on unconventional energy and U.S. national security.
SENATE ENERGY HEARING. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a full committee hearing on S.1784, the Oregon and California Land Grant Act of 2013 and S.1966, the National Forest Jobs and Management Act of 2014.
SENATE ENVIRONMENT MARKUP. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a full committee markup of a number of bills, including S.741, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act of 2013; and to vote on a slate of nominations including Rhea Suh to be assistant Interior secretary for fish and wildlife.