Stick a Fork In It – The End of Keystone XL

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday afternoon, TransCanada announced that it had asked the State Department to suspend its permit application review process for the Keystone XL pipeline project. The request was made in a letter to Secretary of State john Kerry,

TransCanada had faced multiple lawsuits in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route through the state and over who in the state had final authority to grant final approval on that route. Back in September, TransCanada dropped ongoing lawsuits against Nebraska landowners and agreed to submit a review proposal to Nebraska’s Public Service Commission.

In the letter, the company noted that that the review is expected to take seven to 12 months, and went on to say:

“In order to allow time for certainty regarding the Nebraska route, TransCanada requests that the State Department pause in its review of the Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL. This will allow a decision on the permit to be made later based on certainty with respect to the route of the pipeline.”

In a statement published on the TransCanada website, Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, said:

“We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state. I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved. We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate.”

Opponents to the pipeline pointed out that the pipeline’s route wouldn’t ultimately alter the pipeline’s effect. Tom Steyer said that instead of granting a delay, the Obama administration should “immediately reject” the pipeline.

350.org founder Bill McKibben said in a statement:

“Clearly TransCanada has lost and they recognize that. It’s one of the great victories for this movement in decades. In defeat, TransCanada is asking for extra time from the referees, and clearly hoping they’ll get a new head official after the election. It’s time for the current umpire, President Obama, to reject this project once and for all, and go to Paris as the first world leader to stop a major project because of its effect on the climate.”

Personally, we really don’t think it makes much difference at this point. The collapse of the oil market has pretty much made Keystone XL an unprofitable venture for the foreseeable future. As long as oil is trading for under $80 or $90 a barrel, there’s no profit in refining tar sands oil. Yesterday, the one year forecast for WTI crude was $53 a barrel.

That being said, the pipeline would have been a reality if it hadn’t been for activists in Nebraska, Canada and elsewhere letting it be known that it wasn’t OK. it wasn’t OK to try to use eminent domain to take people’s land away from them. It wasn’t OK to pollute the waters and forests around the tar sands. It wasn’t OK to poison the planet.

Occupy World Writes salutes those activists. We the People can make our voices heard. We the People have power.

Our destiny is in our hands.

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