Green Groups Turn Up Heat Against Keystone

A report released Thursday by Oil Change International and other environmental groups says the pipeline is not in the national interest.

A band stands by at the Keystone XL protest at the White House on Sunday Nov. 6, 2011.
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Aug. 29, 2013, 10:59 a.m.

Oil Change International, in partnership with the Sierra Club, 350.org, and Environment America, released a report Thursday calling for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

The report — “Responding to the President’s Climate Challenge: A Failing Grade for Keystone XL” — states that construction of the pipeline will increase carbon emissions and speed development of Canadian oil sands. In short, it would be a significant driver of climate change.

These findings stand in direct opposition to the State Department’s draft environmental analysis of the pipeline, released in March, which said that Keystone XL would not significantly affect oil-sands development in Canada or atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

The State Department’s assertion hinges on the idea that Keystone XL is — in a sense — irrelevant. That’s because, according to State, Canadian oil sands will be developed with or without the pipeline.

Environmental groups disagree. “Responding to the President’s Climate Challenge” challenges this claim directly, saying that oil companies won’t have the capacity to extract and ship crude from the oil sands as quickly or extensively as they could if the pipeline were in place.

In a press call Thursday morning to promote the report, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said that more than a third of oil-sands growth could be deferred if the pipeline is rejected. “Keystone XL is critical to tar-sands expansion,” he said. When asked if oil companies would be able to move crude by rail or other means if the project stalls out, Brune replied: “I would say we have seen rail growth increase, but it’s also clear that rail growth can’t meet [oil] production forecasts.”

Representatives from 350.org, Environment America, and Oil Change International also argued that Keystone XL would dramatically increase carbon emissions. One of the major points raised during the call was that oil sands crude extraction is more carbon intensive than conventional methods of oil drilling.

“The State Department estimates that oil from tar sands is 22 percent more carbon intensive than conventional oil,” Brune said. Adding to this, Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, said: “Of course the pipeline will increase carbon emissions. The only thing that’s more certain than that is that it will increase big oil’s profits.”

State has been tasked with making a determination as to how Keystone XL will affect the environment as well as if the project is in the national interest. The department is not expected to finalize its recommendations until later this year or early in 2014.

The president, however, has final say on whether the pipeline will be approved. Obama has said he will reject Keystone XL if it substantially adds to atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Representatives of the various environmental groups responsible for releasing the report circled back to this point throughout the call, saying that Obama must reject the pipeline because it will increase carbon emissions. “President Obama can move us forward on climate and reject this pipeline once and for all,” Brune said.

Read the full report here

What We're Following See More »
GAVE COMMITTEE A “ROAD MAP” OF NAMES, PLACES, AND LEADS
Fusion GPS Founder Alleges Trump-Mafia Connection
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.

Source:
RYAN SAYS HOUSE WILL VOTE TONIGHT
Senate Dems Say They Can Block Spending Measure
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
13 hours ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
13 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login