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You Canít Fast Track Keystone XL by Denying Its Application

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Unread 03.21.12, 07:48 PM
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You Canít Fast Track Keystone XL by Denying Its Application

On 03.21.12 01:00 PM posted by Nicolas Loris


Several news outlets are reporting that President Obama will call for expediting the permitting process for southern part of the Keystone XL pipeline when he visits Cushing, Oklahoma, this week. Expediting the permitting process for a part of the pipeline is great, and the quicker we can move forward with Keystone the better, but can it really be considered expediting if the project should have already been approved?

The answer is no. President Obama rejected the original permit application for Keystone XL submitted by TransCanada. The entire pipeline project spans 1,700 miles and would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. The southern part of the pipeline, now called the Gulf Coast Project, does not require a presidential permit because it does not cross international borders. It only requires a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and nothing has changed with regards to this part of the project. Itís the same route TransCanada submitted to the State Department in 2008.

In other words, the Presidentís decision to reject the permit application has already unnecessarily slowed the process. It was the environmental activistsí relentless opposition to Keystone that persuaded President Obama to deny the permit application. In doing so, he blamed others for forcing him to take a decision, saying, ďThis 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.Ē

But the review by the State Department was thorough and complete. It studied and addressed risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements..

Some of the concern of environmentalists and Nebraska residents has focused on the original route of the pipeline, particularly the area where the pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer and the stateís Sand Hills region. Nebraska already has miles of natural gas, crude, refined products, and petrochemical pipelines crossing the stateís purportedly sensitive Ogallala Aquifer, including pipelines in the Sand Hills region.

Even so, if President Obama were sincere in his support of the pipeline, he could have approved the permit and allowed TransCanada and Nebraskaís Department of Environmental Quality to work on a reroute to satisfy landowners and state officials in Nebraska.

Furthermore, if President Obama were sincerely supportive of the pipeline, he would not have personally lobbied Senate Democrats to vote against an amendment that would have authorized construction of the entire pipeline.

Expediting the southern portion of Keystone XL is good because it will create jobs immediately and move oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast as soon as 2013. But because of President Obamaís decision to reject Keystoneís permit application last year, weíre already behind. The Presidentís attempt to satisfy those upset about high gas prices while catering to his special interest groups isnít going to cut it.



http://blog.heritage.org/2012/03/21/...s-application/
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