Obama, approve Keystone

2013-03-26T08:30:00Z Obama, approve KeystoneMissoulian editorial missoulian.com
March 26, 2013 8:30 am  • 

Eventually, President Barack Obama is going to have to make some sort of decision about the Keystone XL pipeline project. So far he’s managed to put off signing the presidential permit needed to move the project forward – and it looks like he has a little more time still.

But within the next couple of months, the U.S. State Department will complete its review of the environmental impact statement, and all signs point to an official recommendation to approve the pipeline. Obama should be ready to add his support for this important addition to the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Last Friday, the U.S. Senate made its position clear with a 62-37 vote in favor of the project. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., co-authored the nonbinding budget amendment in an attempt to send a strong message about the proposed pipeline’s significance. The Senate vote reflects widespread support for the project, including in Montana, notwithstanding a good deal of vocal opposition from opponents, including in Montana.

Some famous names have joined the movement to convince Obama to reject the permit application. Many environmentalists are concerned about potential oil spills. Some of them argue that the pipeline would result in increased greenhouse gas emissions. And, of course, in his recent State of the Union address, Obama all but ordered Congress to slow climate change by addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

However, it’s a good bet that the majority of Montanans are in favor of the project. Certainly Montana’s entire congressional delegation is on board. They understand that the pipeline project will create thousands of new, good-paying jobs and prefer that the U.S. get its oil from its close neighbor and ally, Canada. They note that TransCanada has agreed to a strict set of conditions designed to avoid any environmental damage. Besides, the State Department has concluded that the project carries no significant risk of environmental harm – or of an increased rate of greenhouse gas emissions, given that development of Canada’s tar sands is expected to happen with or without the new pipeline.

But if it is approved, the Keystone XL pipeline extension would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Port of Morgan on the Montana-Canadian border, through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to connect to an existing pipeline in Steel City, Neb., and eventually reach the Gulf Coast. This portion of the pipeline would cover nearly 900 miles and cost more than $3 billion.

TransCanada first forwarded the pipeline proposal in 2008; received Canadian approval just two years later. The U.S. portion of the project, meanwhile, is still under debate. Montana and South Dakota have both granted their approval; Nebraska recently signed on as well after TransCanada agreed to route the pipeline around environmentally sensitive areas.

On March 1, the State Department released its supplemental EIS. It is now conducting the 45-day public comment portion of this laborious and time-consuming process. Once this chapter of the Keystone XL pipeline saga has ended, Obama should finally close the book on it. He should go ahead and sign the permit.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Publisher Jim McGowan, Editor Sherry Devlin, Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. PK67
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    PK67 - March 29, 2013 7:40 am
    The editorial board is into people pleasing. This is a cowardly position.
  2. gomer13
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    gomer13 - March 28, 2013 8:09 pm
    Wait til a crude train derails into the Missouri River. You won't think pipelines are that bad after all. I've worked on pipeline spill cleanups. Most are very small, and well contained. Much money and resources were dumped into helping the environment. These leaks were also from very old pipelines that were not built with today's technology, standards, or strict regulations.
  3. gomer13
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    gomer13 - March 28, 2013 8:05 pm
    Here's the kicker... Not putting in Keystone XL will not stop the Canadians from getting their oil out of the tar sands. They will instead send it toward Vancouver, where it will head directly to China to be refined. This is no secret. If global warming is real (which is a whole new argument), then it is a GLOBAL problem. We are only contributing to it, by allowing it to be refined under almost no regulations in Asia.
    The real opposition toward keystone XL is because Bakken crude is going to join it, in ND and MT. Currently much of the crude is being moved out of these two states by rail.... Warren Buffet is becoming a Billionaire many more times over because of it. This isn't about the environment. Moving oil by train is 100's of times more hazardous than pipelines. That's a proven fact.
    This is about who can get deepest in who's pockets. End of story. All true.
  4. Delta
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    Delta - March 28, 2013 9:22 am
    Pipelines might be the safest way to move oil, but they still have an abhorent record, over 100 leaks and spills each year. If any other industry had an accident record as blotted as the oil industry's they would have been shut down long ago. The USA doesn't need this pipeline, Americans can provide their own jobs without having to rely on Canada to do it.
  5. 78RPM
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    78RPM - March 27, 2013 10:26 am
    This editorial is the Canada party line. The pipeline is not "America's oil for Americans." It's Canada's oil for the world. We take the environmental risk for Canada's companies. Where is the call for this oil to be all refined in the U.S. and to be sold in the U.S.? There are refineries in the Midwest, so why not save cost and stop the pipeline in Kansas or Oklahoma where it will create refining jobs? Has the author forgotten about the Yellowstone River spill?
  6. Kevin D Curtis
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    Kevin D Curtis - March 27, 2013 10:13 am
    You must not know that we refine and use all of the Canadian tar sand crude in Illinois and Oklahoma, currently 550,000 barrels a day! It is delivered by the existing Keystone pipeline which runs from Canada to the mid-west. As soon as Keystone XL makes it to the deep water ports in Texas (located at the refineries) it will be shipped as CRUDE to Asia just as promised by Canadian Prime Minister Harper in 2012. This has nothing to do with environmentalists they are just being used by the industry to gain the support of people who do not know the facts. We need to demand that the Canadian oil and our Bakken oil both are refined and used in the U.S. If Keystone XL makes it to Texas we lose existing refining jobs, lose a source of domestic energy and our fuel prices will spike. TransCanada is trying to push this through before the public can learn the facts.
    China gets the Crude, we get screwed!
  7. Kevin D Curtis
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    Kevin D Curtis - March 27, 2013 9:55 am
    You are so right! The politicians and oil execs have been trying to fast track the Keystone XL before the public caught on to the scam. The industry has done a fine job of using the environmentalists as their foil to gain the support of simple minded conservatives and others who do not know any of the facts. We already refine every drop of the Canadian tar sand crude in Illinois and Oklahoma and it should stay that way!
  8. Kevin D Curtis
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    Kevin D Curtis - March 27, 2013 9:41 am
    Why!?!?! Today we refine all of the Canadian crude in Illinois and Oklahoma and use it in the U.S. market (AP). As soon as the Crude oil makes it to the deep water ports in Texas it will be shipped as CRUDE to Asia (Canadian Prime Minister April 2nd, 2012). Our fuel prices are stable right now and as soon as we lose access and the Canadian crude bypasses the U.S. our fuel prices will spike (NRDC report 2012). We should demand that the oil stay in and is used in the U.S.A. or we will never achieve energy independence. This is a export scheme that will cost us existing refining jobs, cause higher fuel prices and make us less energy independent. China gets the Crude, we get screwed!
  9. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 26, 2013 10:01 pm

    Don't think to long.
    either way, your better off.
  10. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 26, 2013 9:05 pm

    Don't think to long.
    either way, it's for you.
  11. Logical1
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    Logical1 - March 26, 2013 7:37 pm
    A wonderful letter from the Missoulian Editorial Board. You are spot-on. Additionally, a pipeline is the safest and most efficient method in the world for moving oil. Once buried, nobody will ever think about it again. And it will NOT destroy our planet. The USA needs this pipeline and those who oppose progress, indeed civilization, should be ignored. Obama definitely should approve this project ASAP and move on.
  12. Picaresque
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    Picaresque - March 26, 2013 10:52 am
    The Missoulian editorial board is willing to sell out Montanans for the sake of a few thousand TEMPORARY jobs spread across half a dozen states. The fact is the global warming caused by the Canadian tar sands project will have very negative effects on agriculture and tourism, two of the state's largest industries. You are advocating allowing foreign corporations to condemn land that has been owned by Montana families for many generations. Extending the pipeline to the Gulf Coast will allow Montana oil from the Bakken fields to be exported to China and Europe, raising gas prices for all Americans. Rather than playing into the hands of foreign corporations and oil speculators, perhaps the Missoulian editorial board should concentrate on making the paper worth reading. Shame on you.
    Rethinking my subscription in Missoula
  13. Eric Grimsrud
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    Eric Grimsrud - March 26, 2013 9:23 am
    I am disappointed in this editorial position concerning the Keystone Pipeline and it's stated reason that "a good bet (is) that the majority of Montanans are in favor of the project. Certainly Montana’s entire congressional delegation is on board."

    Having grown up in a newspaper family, I came to expect more independent thinking in editorial stances.

    Eric Grimsrud, Kalispell

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