The big environmental news this week was the demise of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. For those in need of a refresh, this is an extension of an already existing pipeline that would facilitate the transportation of synthetic crude oil from the Alberta, Canada tar sands to multiple locations in the United States. Needless to say, environmentalists have not been big fans of this venture.
On November 10 of last year, after months of protests, President Obama announced a delay of the decision until 2013. So we got a reprieve, if not a victory, for the environment. Shortly thereafter Republicans introduced legislation that would require a decision be made on the project within two months, deadline February 21st 2012.
On December 18th the White House released its decision. From the official statement:
As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipelines impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Departments report, I agree.
This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.
So does this mark the end of the project and its environmental threat? Not really. The statement focuses on Republican strong-arming instead of environmental concerns and TransCanada has already said they intend to reapply for a permit.
For more information on the pipeline fight, visit https://www.tarsandsaction.org/spread-the-word/key-facts-keystone-xl/
For insight into different green opinions on this development, visit https://grist.org/politics/is-the-anti-keystone-campaign-good-or-bad-for-the-environmental-movement/