It's been more than eight years since TransCanada Corp. (TRP) first announced plans to build a pipeline that would move oil from the Alberta tar sands to Illinois. The company subsequently decided to expand the pipeline south to the Gulf Coast. That southern leg, running between Steele City, Okla., and Port Arthur, Texas, is now operating but its northern leg, between Alberta and Oklahoma, is not. That requires a presidential permit, and it doesn't have one yet.
Related: Keystone pipeline would be good for the environment: Former BP CEO
President Obama rejected plans for the northern part of the pipeline in 2012. The U.S. State Dept. recently released an environmental impact review which found that the pipeline would have no "significant" impact on greenhouse gas emissions. That would have been a dealbreaker for the president. Meanwhile, opposition to the pipeline has been a constant and on Sunday hundreds of people strapped themselves to the White House fence to protest the pipeline.
Now the public and TransCanada, the company that is building the pipeline, have to wait for a final decision.
Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, tells The Daily Ticker in the video above that he hopes a decision will be made within the next couple of months. He's optimistic the pipeline will be approved despite crticism that it's polluting and potentially danergous, and a recent Nebraska district court ruling that voided the state's approval.
"All of that is rhetoric and nonsense," says Girling, about the criticism. "As things sit right now we do have an approved route in Nebraska. ... seen as environmentally sound through five environmental reviews by the federal government and through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.... We'll eventually get through that process. It's just a matter of determining what is the legal process for us to have it reviewed."
But Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, isn't so sure about that. After the latest State Department review of the pipeline, he released a statement saying, “Reports of an industry victory on the Keystone XL pipeline are vastly over-stated." Brune added that the State Department's environmental review "sets the stage for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline....[since] the report concludes that Keystone XL will create the equivalent climate pollution of the exhaust of nearly 6 million cars each year, which the president cannot fail to recognize as significant and not in the nation’s best interest."
Should the Keystone pipeline be completed or does it pose too big of an environmental risk? Tell us in the comment section below!
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