The State Department’s unveiling of its final environmental study of the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday brought aftershocks through the weekend.
Bloomberg reports that big Canadian oil sands producers don’t need the proposed pipeline as badly as they did when TransCanada began seeking permits a half decade ago.
Sure, producers are happy with State’s report, which mostly upheld a 2013 draft finding that Keystone isn’t a planet-cooker, Bloomberg notes. But the oil companies say the final U.S. decision on a permit, whenever that arrives, isn’t make-or-break.
“Canadian producers welcomed the positive step, while emphasizing that their options for transporting crude are widening,” states the Bloomberg piece that’s headlined “Keystone Ardor Cools Among Producers With More Options.”
White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, appearing on Sunday talk shows, emphasized that State’s report is just one part of the federal review. He offered no timeline for a final decision.
“What the president’s role is now is to protect this process from politics, let the expert agencies and the Cabinet secretaries make their assessments both of the study that was put on Friday as well as its impact on the national interest. So we’ll resolve that over the coming period of time,” McDonough said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
McDonough said more or less the same thing on NBC’s Meet the Press.
The report puts new pressure on President Obama to green-light Keystone, but as National Journal reported Friday, the White House is leaving its options open.
The study, to be sure, was good news for advocates of Keystone, a project that would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day across the border en route to Gulf Coast refineries.
Billionaire anti-Keystone activist Tom Steyer, in a letter to John Kerry on Sunday, urged the secretary of State to launch an “independent and transparent” review of State’s final environmental analysis.
Steyer and other environmentalists argue that Keystone is a linchpin for expansion of carbon-intensive oil sands development. State’s review basically contradicted that claim, although it also examined alternative market scenarios in which Keystone is indeed important for getting oil sands crude out of Alberta.
Elsewhere, Reuters looks at a separate part of the 11-volume report. “Replacing the Keystone XL pipeline with oil-laden freight trains from Canada may result in an average of six additional rail-related deaths per year,” Reuters reports in summarizing one of the findings.
National Journal has more here on the next steps in the federal review.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."