Why, nine years later, Keystone XL’s fate is still in limbo

pipeline

It’s nine years and counting since the Keystone pipeline was first proposed and TransCanada is still waiting for presidential approval to build the line. An environmental assessment report from the US State Department that landed in January would seem to move TransCanada’s hopes forward, but the pipeline’s ultimate fate is still very much in limbo. The State Department concluded that the … [Read more...]

Is oil-by-rail boom an accident waiting to happen?

oil train

Tick, tick, tick. The countdown to another rail accident is already on. A 90-car derailment recently in Alabama is only the latest in a series of train wrecks unfolding across North America.The next one, as promised by a dangerous combination of lax regulations and booming traffic, is just around the bend.Fracking may be paving the way towards energy independence for North America, but that … [Read more...]

The downside of higher U.S. energy exports

oil tanker

Critics of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project often argue that Canada should reap the full benefits of its natural resources, rather than exporting its petroleum riches south of the border. Head to the U.S. and, ironically, you can hear the same discussion. Much of America’s new found oil wealth is being shipped abroad, which is worrying Americans who figured they had a Made-in-the-USA solution to … [Read more...]

Burning Tar Sands = ‘Unsolvable’ Climate Crisis: Hansen

protesters with anti-tar sands banner

We have a 'tremendously chaotic' climate on the way, climate expert warns Fresh off his resignation from NASA, leading climate scientist James Hansen is making the rounds this week, warning media and lawmakers that not only are we heading for a "tremendously chaotic" climate, but if we dig up and burn Canadian tar sands, the climate crisis will be rendered "unsolvable." Hansen told a a … [Read more...]

Citing mystical vision, Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

Barack Obama speaking

Cutting short a permit review process expected to conclude this summer at earliest, President Obama today announced that he has decided to block the Keystone XL pipeline planned to carry more than 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian tar-sands crude into the country. "After a careful process of deliberation, and a prophetic vision after Easter service on Sunday, I have determined that permitting … [Read more...]

A bold win against big oil

Bold Nebraska

In modern life, a David versus Goliath conflict rarely ends as neatly as the story—especially when the Goliath is a $7 billion energy project backed by major oil-industry multinationals. But this year, a broad coalition of environmental activists, citizens from conservative ranch and farm communities, Obama supporters, and celebrities (such as Daryl Hannah, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Mark … [Read more...]

Oil price differentials, not emissions, the key to Keystone

Keystone XL Pipeline

James Hansen, NASA’s lead climate scientist, says if TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL mega-project connecting Alberta tar sand producers to Gulf Coast refineries is approved, it is game over for the planet. It certainly won’t be game over for Alberta’s oil patch or the thousands of North American steel workers who will build the massive pipeline. And I rather doubt it will be game over for … [Read more...]

The White House and tar sands

Photo of tar sands protesters

Let us return for a moment to election night 2008. As I sat in our farm house in Pennsylvania, watching Barack Obama's victory speech, I turned my head aside so my wife would not see the tears in my eyes. I suspect that millions cried. It was a great day for America. We had great hopes for Barack Obama - perhaps our dreams were unrealistic - he is only human. But it is appropriate, it is right, … [Read more...]

Sun and sanity

President Obama Laughs with Aides on Air Force One

This is the second week of protests, led by Bill McKibben, in front of the White House demanding that President Barack Obama reject a proposed 1700 mile pipeline transporting the dirtiest oil from Alberta, Canada through fragile ecologies down to the Gulf Coast refineries. One thousand people will be arrested there from all fifty states before their demonstration is over. The vast majority voted … [Read more...]

How I learned to start worrying and hate the tar sands pipeline

Bill McKibben arrested at White House

I'm their target audience. I already care about climate change. And I don't like Big Oil. Yet, it took Bill McKibben and more than 150 other activists getting arrested at the White House for me to finally care about the tar sands pipeline. Before that, I had five reasons to leave this particular issue to somebody else: Pipelines are boring. With the Environmental Protection Agency reporting … [Read more...]