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Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline (washingtonpost.com) 369

An anonymous reader writes: The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is finally coming to a close. On Friday, President Obama denied a construction permit for the pipeline, ending a seven-year political fight. Obama said, "America's now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face — not acting." Secretary of State John Kerry added, "The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers — jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves." The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil. "U.S. imports of oil from Canada hit a record high of 3.4 million barrels a day in August, up from just under 2 million barrels a day in 2008, the year the pipeline was proposed."
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Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

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  • So now the oil will be transported by truck and rail, which of course pollutes much, much less than sending it through a pipe via electric pumps.

    is obama and his administration fucking retarded? did he flunk basic math and science?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PackMan97 ( 244419 )
      Exactly! At best this oil will cost more to produce (Obama's goal) and will end up in more pollution (the opposite of what Obama wants to achieve). It also has the side effect of encouraging Canada to build more refineries to process this oil and build their own pipeline to the their coast to ship it and get thus eliminate a bunch of American jobs. Bravo, Mr President!
      • by rikkards ( 98006 )

        No this was basically a big F-U to Canada and the BC Pipeline to sell oil to China.

        • "No this was basically a big F-U to Canada"

          We would rather buy our imported oil from countries that hate us. And where else are they going to get the revenue for international terrorist operations?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There were to be almost no jobs after the pipeline was built. What do you expect all the workers to do? All you need is like three guys every hundred miles or so. One to watch the gauges, and two to investigate leaks. You then have a crew of ten every 500 miles to repair leaks. Probably be a total of 100 American jobs, and that is if they don't bring down Canadians to do the job anyways.

        WHAT FUCKING JOBS ARE YOU YAMMERING ON ABOUT. Fucking idiot. And of course they wanted to lay this pipeline right a

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:42AM (#50883159)

      It's not about reality, it's about perception. It doesn't matter which pollutes more only which is perceived to be worse.

      • Yep. And all that noise about how unsafe the pipeline is will be exposed as so much bullshit when (not if) a derailment causes a raging fire, many deaths and the evacuation of any towns near the conflagration.

        BTW oil shipped east by rail within Canada has already caused deaths.

        Rational thought is something reviled by the "Green" movement. It's all really about more government control.

        If things really were so dire we'd be shutting down the coal plants as the new nuclear plants come online, but that's not w

        • by caseih ( 160668 )

          Except that pipeline spills happen all the time in north america like weekly. The risk of fire is much lower but the environmental cost to land owners is still very high. Not saying it's worse. But pipelines are not definitely not safer. There was a major spill just a few of years ago in the Midwest that is still not cleaned up despite the oil company claiming recovery is complete. A real disaster. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]. With the TransCanada pipeline the odds of a spill or multiple spills of t

        • by sl149q ( 1537343 )

          Just a note that the oil that was shipped east and caused deaths at Lac-Megantic was US Oil from the Bakken formation not from the Oil Sands in Alberta.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Stupid name. Keystone. Like the cops. Shuda called it Patriot Pipe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And what happens when that pipeline breaks and makes the water undrinkable and the farmland unusable? Canada and the oil companies made sure they would be exempt from liability so my taxes would go to foot the bill for clean up. Keep it in your backyard, not mine, if you want to drink your oil. You are the fucking retard here.

      • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:51AM (#50883193)

        You're confused, if a pipeline breaks they turn the pumps off and fix it. Crude oil, being 100% natural, gets broken down by bacteria that eat it. We already have huge, huge volume of oil and petroleum products going through massive pipe system, look it up.

        • In Prince William Sound, decades later, you can still turn over rocks and find crude oil from the Exxon Valdez. Bacteria break down your 100% natural oil great in the lab; not so much in the wild.

          Pro tip: never base your argument in how "natural" something is that is 100% toxic to nearly everything in nature. You're welcome.

      • What happens when the train derails?

        http://bigstory.ap.org/article... [ap.org]

        You act like if the pipeline isn't built we'll just quit using oil.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by olsmeister ( 1488789 )
      Or, it'll be transported via ship overseas, which can result in an even larger catastrophe. I agree, he dropped the ball on this one. The oil is going to be mined, it will be sold, and it will be refined - the only question is where. The carbon will enter the atmosphere, except now it'll be accompanied by the additional carbon required to ship the oil the refinery in a much less efficient manner. I can only surmise that the decision was based entirely on politics and not on common sense.
    • No (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is the technology required to build an oil refinery beyond the societal abilities of Canada? Do they really need to freeride off the USA even more than they already do?

      Is it too much to ask that TransCanada build a Canadian pipeline transversing Canada to their own Canadian refinery, thereby securing all the supposed economic benefits for their own country?

      Fuck Canada!

      • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

        by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @12:08PM (#50883285) Journal

        Blame about 3 Prime Ministers back who decided Canada will no longer build refineries in Canada and rely on sending our oil south.
        With the lower cost of oil now it is pretty much approaching too expensive to suck it out of the oilsands in Canada.

      • beyond the societal abilities of Canada

        *Sigh*. Another tired argument from someone who doesn't know anything about the industry.

        This is driven by economics and the free market, I have no idea what brain twisting you've done to see this as a "societal" thing. Argue if you want that we should make poor economic decisions and build refineries, but at least be aware of what you're arguing for.

        I'll give a simple example to illustrate. Imagine you can take a barrel of oil out of the ground, and sell it raw for $50. Or, you can refine the bar

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 07, 2015 @12:08PM (#50883289)

      You're all wrong and kind of stupid while you're at it.

      This pipeline was going to a specific place for a specific reason, and that reason was not to benefit the American people. It is illegal to export US crude oil overseas. It is not illegal to export Canadian crude though. Additionally, Canada doesn't have a lot of the kinds of refineries that can handle that garbage tar sand stuff they dig up because that requires a level of environmental unfriendliness uncommon even for refineries. Of course the US deep south has those because God's will or something.

      This pipeline was to terminate in one of those "foreign free trade zones" where companies don't pay taxes on exports. The entire purpose of it was to allow a Canadian company to export crude and/or products refined from that crude overseas through the US, with US citizens bearing the brunt of the environmental cost of dealing with the pipeline and taking the environmental risk processing what even for crude oil is a very dirty raw material. It would not have lowered gas prices in the US because the oil would not have stayed in the US. This was all about using ignorant people to fund a for-profit project essentially for free when all was said and done.

      The only thing Obama screwed up is that he let it go on this long. Actually, forget about the environmental issues because nobody's ever going to convince some of you that it's ever a problem. Anybody responsibly running a country would have laughed this out of his office the day it came in there simply on economic terms. What kind of person in charge of anything would deliberately take on a bunch of risk for no reward? Cleanups cost money and something like this is pretty much guaranteed to need one at some point. Nobody who has any brains in business would take that on--of course that's exactly what business wanted the US government to do in this case. However, Obama had to pander to the ignorant masses, and unfortunately the facts of this story take longer to relay than the attention span of a toddler, which is what most Americans and especially most conservatives have these days.

      • by gbcox ( 868098 )
        Thanks! Perfect summary. This was just pork barrel for the Canadian Oil industry. Wouldn't have done anything to affect prices or supply in the US. Another example of how the media has failed us. What is really ridiculous was the lies spread here in the US to try to sell it and the complicity of the media. So sad...
      • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @01:33PM (#50883723) Journal

        You're all wrong and kind of stupid while you're at it.

        Yes, you are, we're about to see why in a second...

        This pipeline was to terminate in one of those "foreign free trade zones" where companies don't pay taxes on exports.

        Neither the US nor Canada tax exports. At all. The reason for the use of the foreign free trade zone is to REDUCE costs to the US Government, saving it money. The law says that if I import goods from a foreign country (say, oil) I pay an import tax on it. When I use that good to create a new good/product and export the resuts, I can claim back the import taxes I paid on the original imported goods. Meaning the US Government must inspect, assess, and then collect payment. And then must process a claim for tax return, process, and pay back out.

        By using a foreign free trade zone, product is not taxed when it arrives - and it must be exported abroad. The net tax result is zero - same as in the original case. But CBP doesn't have to process each transaction twice - eliminating the expense/overhead related to a zero-gain transaction.

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Oil doesn't have to stay in the US for it to lower the price of oil in the US.

        If China wants the oil and can't get it from Canada, it will get it from other places that it can get it from, including some places that we source our oil from. That will drive up the oil prices everywhere.

        The US has an advantage with local oil reserves, but even the US still imports 27% of its petroleum and that number is the lowest it has been in recent memory. Changes to US oil production could very easily increase that perc

    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @01:21PM (#50883649)

      Who benefits most from the pipeline? TransCanada. All the pipeline does is make is easier and cheaper to ship oil from the tar sands. There will be some jobs to build the pipeline but after that only a handful to maintain it. The problem is the US will spends billions to build it. Will it increase refinery capacity? No. Will it make it easier to extract oil from the tar sands? No. Do US refineries benefit from getting more oil? No as most of the oil will be simply shipped out of the Gulf of Mexico to Europe. So the only purpose of the pipeline was so that TransCanada saves money on shipping at the expense of the US.

      Then there is the possible environmental problems. Pipelines leak. If there is an incident with a train or truck, the impact is much less than a pipeline spilling millions of gallons of oil somewhere in the US when it is used.

      Then there is the economic aspect of extracting oil from the tar sands. At the current gas prices, it's not economical to get oil from the tar sands. So when gas prices are low, the pipeline won't even be used. So the US is paying for a half-used pipeline.

      So the US pays a lot of money so that TransCanada saves money on shipping. When it is in use, there is a greater chance of environmental impact. When it is not being used, the US paid a lot of money so TransCanada didn't save money. There was no real economic advantage to it at all.

      If TransCanada wants to build the pipeline with 100% of their own money, they can do it. Don't do it with US taxpayer money.

      • "the US will spends billions to build it"

        Really? The US is paying for a pipeline that a Canadian company is installing? How does that work?
      • by fatwilbur ( 1098563 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @04:31PM (#50884671)

        If TransCanada wants to build the pipeline with 100% of their own money, they can do it. Don't do it with US taxpayer money.

        What on earth gave you the idea US taxpayer money was being used to build this pipeline, and not TC's capital? Wow, guess I haven't read the craziest of the anti-KXL propaganda...

        • So what you're saying is absolutely no subsidies are being used? That state and local governments will not reduce their property taxes to get the pipeline made?
    • "is obama and his administration fucking retarded? did he flunk basic math and science?"

      *Snickers* Really? After that first line doozy?

      Here's some basic math and science for you, transporting the oil pollutes a negligible amount compared to extracting it. The Keystone XL pipeline was designed to reduce the cost of developing the tar sands. Tar sands are expensive to develop because they are energy intensive and very polluting to extract oil from. By keeping the cost of developing the tar sands high, it rai
  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    for the oil trains.

  • by borcharc ( 56372 ) * on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:42AM (#50883163)

    Obama denys the permit a few days after transcanada requests to table the permit process (due to falling oil prices) and everyone cheers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dan East ( 318230 )

      That's because Obama is the most passive, reactionary, wait-and-see, wishy-washy, retroactive, pansy leader the US has had in my lifetime (and perhaps ever).

    • Obama denys the permit a few days after transcanada requests to table the permit process (due to falling oil prices) and everyone cheers.

      It also helps that Justin Trudeau just became the Canadian PM. While he supported Keystone that support was a lot softer than that of Harper, the previous PM. I don't think Harper would have much political influence in the US but it's always nice to avoid an extra source of criticism.

      Moreover the cancellation is a big political gift to Trudeau. The Liberals are centrists so putting them in an ongoing support/deny mode was going to alienate a big chunk of their supporters. Cancelling this early absolves him

  • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:42AM (#50883165)

    It's notable that Obama is making a political calculation (wanting to retain "leadership" relating to climate change, the pipeline not increasing "energy security") rather than an economic or environmental one.

    Reading his statement [whitehouse.gov] on the matter, his economic justifications are irrelevant ("the pipeline wouldn't create jobs or lower gas prices for Americans"): since it's not proposed that the US government pay for the pipeline, these issues are only relevant against costs -- and he doesn't discuss any costs! He isn't citing the direct environmental damage of digging the pipeline and creating associated infrastructure (roads, power cables, pumping stations etc). He isn't citing the risk of leaks.

    I was wondering if Obama would claim climate risks since that would have required him to quantify his estimate of the accuracy of the models used to predict the climate effects of the pipeline. But naturally he didn't claim risks to the climate -- only risks to US leadership on climate issues. That's a fair reason to make national-level decisions, but is not a win for the environment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Climate change requires coordinated action from all (or most) major countries. If the US went ahead with Keystone, then politicians or bureaucrats in other countries would say, why should we stick out our necks on this. The USA isn't making any sacrifices and they're the worst (or in top 2) polluter.

      • by l2718 ( 514756 )

        Climate change requires coordinated action from all (or most) major countries. If the US went ahead with Keystone, then politicians or bureaucrats in other countries would say, why should we stick out our necks on this. The USA isn't making any sacrifices and they're the worst (or in top 2) polluter.

        Well, your argument assumes disapproving Keystone XL has both negative climate effect and positive economic benefits, so that disapproving it would have been a "sacrifice". In fact, Obama is arguing that it w

    • It's all about his legacy. It's incredibly thin as-is, so he's doing whatever he can to keep it as strong as possible. One of the biggest impacts on a President's legacy is how well his party did after he left office. This veto was a bone thrown to the extreme environmental wing to keep them "on the reservation" for the Democrats in an effort to keep the White House in the hands of the Democrats - and perhaps maintain, or even increase, Democrat seats in the House and Senate.
    • Reading his statement [whitehouse.gov] on the matter, his economic justifications are irrelevant ("the pipeline wouldn't create jobs or lower gas prices for Americans"): since it's not proposed that the US government pay for the pipeline, these issues are only relevant against costs -- and he doesn't discuss any costs! He isn't citing the direct environmental damage of digging the pipeline and creating associated infrastructure (roads, power cables, pumping stations etc). He isn't citing the risk of leaks.

      I was wondering if Obama would claim climate risks since that would have required him to quantify his estimate of the accuracy of the models used to predict the climate effects of the pipeline. But naturally he didn't claim risks to the climate -- only risks to US leadership on climate issues. That's a fair reason to make national-level decisions, but is not a win for the environment.

      Well the economic justifications are relevant is they fail to justify the costs, as to the costs you just listed a bunch, including the extra CO2 contributing to climate change and damage to US leadership that he focused on. Obama's claim is that the economic benefit is mild and not enough to cover the environmental and political problems.

      The risk of leaks and environment damage from construction are relevant, but they're not the justification for the cancellation. (possibly because they're cancelled out by

  • It will probably be approved in the summer of 2017.

  • The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is finally coming to a close.

    Hahhahahahahaha, good one!

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @11:54AM (#50883205)

    Nature already polluted all of this sand with oil. All the oil companies are doing is removing the oil leaving nice clean sand behind.

  • This should come as no surprise. A few days ago, TransCanada requested a delay in approval because the low price of oil has made the pipeline construction less appealing. This reduced opposition to, and so political cost of, Obama's decision.

    http://www.theguardian.com/env... [theguardian.com]
  • So they will continue to send 5000 trucks a day, nice move.

  • Yeah, other ways (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @12:12PM (#50883329) Homepage

    "The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil."

    Like, for instance, the railroad that Obama's 1%'er buddy Warren Buffett owns. I'm sure there's no connection there, though.

    Oh, and is it cleaner to transport by rail?

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article... [ap.org]

    Nope.

    And is it going to cut carbon emissions? Are we pretending that Canada's just going to leave it in the ground if we don't buy it?

    • I doubt Canada will leave it in the ground forever. But with current oil prices, it may make sense to leave it in the ground for a few more years.

      But there's something I've never quite gotten about the controversy. My understanding is that the oil that would be pumped through Keystone XL was contractually promised to China, and would not be available to the US anyway. It would just be pumped across the US to our ports on the Gulf of Mexico for shipping. And we would not get any of it or the benefit from

    • "The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil."

      Like, for instance, the railroad that Obama's 1%'er buddy Warren Buffett owns. I'm sure there's no connection there, though.

      I'm also sure there's no connection.

      I mean the basis of your conspiracy is the fact that a famous rich donor (who's relatively friendly with the administration) has some of his billions stashed in railways, and those railways will see some mild to moderate increase in business due to the cancellation.

      The evidence against your conspiracy, besides the fact that that's a remarkably weak motive for a massive political decision, is the fact that Warren Buffet is on record supporting the pipeline

      Buffett said that [fortune.com]

  • And it hasn't even been one week since the election. Well, I for one welcome our new Canadian overlords.

    But on a more serious note, we all know the real reason why this pipeline was rejected. And its name is Berkshire Hathaway [fool.com].

  • by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @12:31PM (#50883445)

    "The only winner is Venezuela"
    I wanted Keystone XL approved just to fuck with Maduro.

  • The project has already been stalled and deprioritised due to low oil prices, so Obama's advisers calculated that the economic pain of rejecting it now won't cause them too much trouble. They don't have to pretend to be still reviewing it while actually simply stonewalling it until it dies. A benefit is that they get to preach about the environment, even as oil gets transported by rail and truck instead, which of course generates a lot more carbon. But hey, at least Berkshire Hathaway owns the rail lines
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @12:38PM (#50883473)
    There's no issue here. Keystone was just a way for Canada to get it's oil to China cheaply. There's no benefit besides a few hundred jobs. OTOH there's a strong likelihood that sooner or later the pipeline will burst and spew oil everywhere for days. We here in America don't have the best track record of making oil companies clean up their messes....

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