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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


September 20, 2013 - 9:45 am

Thursday marked five years since TransCanada first filed its application with the U.S. government to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

President Obama has made various vows, particularly during last campaign season, to give the project expedited review, but it’s once again stalled. The State Department’s draft Environmental Impact Statement found in May that there should be no adverse impacts from the project, yet still approval is pending.

The State Department is necessary in the process because of the project’s cross-border nature. Secretary John Kerry has been mum about Keystone since assuming his new role.

“The president’s failure to lead on energy policy is the single most important reason for why this infrastructure project has been delayed for so many years,” Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said at a press conference with other pipeline supporters. “Canada is our closest ally and economic partner, and the pipeline adds another route to the extremely integrated North American network. Contrary to the president’s statements, the State Department estimates more than 40,000 jobs would be supported by the Keystone XL project.”

The $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline is expected to 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries. It includes not just oil from Alberta, but also 100,000 barrels per day of light, sweet crude from the Bakken region in Montana and North Dakota.

“North American oil and gas production is burgeoning, driven by a revolution in new technologies that are producing more energy with better environmental stewardship than ever before and it’s happening right here at home. Every concern has been reasonably answered, and it’s time for economic reality, common sense and the will of the people to prevail,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

Two majority votes in the Senate and several bipartisan letters to the president have expressed support for the project.

“It’s disappointing we’re at this point where five years later we still don’t have an answer on the Keystone XL pipeline. Just last month, I visited the oil sands in Canada and it only reinforced how critical the Keystone XL pipeline would be to North Dakota and the U.S.,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) “It’s in our economic, national security, and energy interests to approve this pipeline from our neighbor and ally as we continue to build an all-of-the-above energy strategy that could lead us toward North American energy independence. This project needs to be approved.”

According to a Harris poll released over the summer, nine in 10 Republicans and nearly 80 percent of Democrats and Independents believe the pipeline is in the nation’s interest.

White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked at yesterday’s press briefing whether President Obama would be willing to discuss Keystone with Republicans.

“The decision about that pipeline obviously is something that’s reviewed and evaluated and housed over — by and over at the State Department,” Carney said.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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My first effort to post here did not work as I hoped. The address for Gen4 Energy, Inc. was supposed to include a link:

And likewise Mark Jaccard’s post was supposed to include:

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If we don’t want to wait three more years, then perhaps pipeline supporters should look to add a new element in the currently static conflict that opposes apprehensions over carbon dioxide emissions to expectations of economic and security benefits from building the pipeline. The following points are the best new approach that I have found.

1. Even people who do not accept climate alarmism over carbon dioxide emissions need to face the political reality that in his June speech President Obama made the acceptability of the Keystone XL pipeline contingent on the carbon footprint of the Canadian oil sands industry.

2. Currently this footprint is of course very large, because a large amount of heat (now obtained by burning natural gas) is needed to extract bitumen and process it to be transportable by pipeline or railroad. (Hence the hysterical hyperbole about how building the pipeline would mean “game over for the planet”.)

3. Each Gen4 Module nuclear reactor (a new, small, safe type of reactor being offered by Gen4 Energy, Inc. in Denver CO) can be expected in its operating lifetime to produce heat equivalent to burning more than 450,000 tons of natural gas, which would produce more than 1,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

4. The current operations of the Canadian oil sands industry appear to offer possibilities for using many Modules. (The industry has recently been releasing about 55 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, according to Canadian environmentalist blogger (and pipeline opponent) Mark Jaccard)

5. Suitably publicizing the prospect of reducing the oil sands industry’s carbon footprint by using safe nuclear heat offers hope of pressuring President Obama to approve the pipeline.

I have been hoping to establish websites with the details behind the above list of points (probably “Keystone Static Conflict” ( in the hope of showing up in Google searches, and “Nuclear for Oil Sands” (, especially including the calculation of how the reactor would replace a million tons of carbon dioxide emission. They do not exist yet, but perhaps I can get them up in the next few days.

Meanwhile, I hope that supporters of the pipeline will look for a way to use this information to put the desired pressure on the President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And we'll have at least three more years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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