Archive for Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump signs orders advancing Keystone, Dakota pipelines

President Donald Trump talks with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, before signing an executive order on the Dakota Access pipeline. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump talks with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, before signing an executive order on the Dakota Access pipeline. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

January 24, 2017, 10:54 a.m. Updated January 24, 2017, 12:54 p.m.

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— President Donald Trump signed executive actions Tuesday to advance construction of the huge Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, moving aggressively to overhaul America's energy policy and dealing a swift blow to Barack Obama's legacy on climate change.

Trump told reporters at the White House the pipelines will be subject to conditions being negotiated by U.S. officials — including a requirement that the pipe itself be manufactured in America.

"From now on we are going to start making pipelines in the United States," Trump said from the Oval Office.

On Keystone, the memorandum by Trump invites the pipeline builder, TransCanada, to resubmit its application to the State Department for a presidential permit to construct and operate the pipeline.

Trump's memo on the Dakota Access pipeline says its construction and operation will serve the national interest. The memo orders the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review and approve construction and easement requests in an expedited manner for a project that has led to major protests by American Indian groups and their supporters.

As a practical matter, the Dakota Access project is likely to be completed first — perhaps years before Keystone, which must cross a U.S. border and faces a more complicated review process. The company building the Dakota pipeline says it is complete except for the section that would pass under the Missouri River near a camp in North Dakota where pipeline opponents are demonstrating.

Obama halted the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, declaring it would undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal that was a centerpiece of his environmental agenda. The pipeline would run from Canada to Nebraska, where it would join other lines already leading to refineries along the Gulf Coast. A presidential permit is needed because the pipeline would cross the northern U.S border.

The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said it threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites. The company developing the 1,200-mile pipeline, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, disputes that and says it will be safe.

The Dakota pipeline is to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

"Today's news is a breath of fresh air, and proof that President Trump won't let radical special-interest groups stand in the way of doing what's best for American workers," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate.

In July, the Army Corps of Engineers granted the company needed permits, but in September the agency said further analysis was needed. On Dec. 4, the assistant Army secretary for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said alternate routes needed to be considered. Energy Transfer Partners called the decision politically motivated and said that Obama was delaying the matter until he left office.

Nearly 600 pipeline opponents have been arrested in North Dakota since last year. An encampment on Corps land along the pipeline route was home to thousands of protesters who call themselves "water protectors," though the camp's population has thinned due to harsh winter weather and a plea by Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault for the camp to disband.

Trump touted the stalled Keystone project during a late October campaign swing through Florida, saying: "We're going to approve energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone pipeline and many more." He listed the project among his top priorities for the first 100 days of his administration, saying it could provide "a lot of jobs, a lot of good things."

Trump also supports the Dakota pipeline. Until last year, Trump owned a small amount of stock in Energy Transfer Partners and at least $100,000 in Phillips 66, an energy company that owns one-quarter of the pipeline. Trump sold the shares last year as part of a wide-ranging stock divestment, a spokesman said.

Environmental groups blasted Tuesday's order as a bid by Trump to serve the oil industry. Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is a former Exxon Mobil CEO, and his pick for energy secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, owns stock in Energy Transfers.

"Donald Trump has been in office for four days and he's already proving to be the dangerous threat to our climate we feared he would be," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

He and other activists said the fight against the projects was not over.

"It's a dark day for reason, but we will continue the fight," said Bill McKibben, co-founder of the environmental group 350.org and a leader of a five-year fight against Keystone XL.

Comments

Brad Greenwood 5 months ago

For those of you who keep insisting we give this man a chance... enough!

Harlan Hobbs 5 months ago

Brad, it is going to be a long 8 years for you, so you might as well get used to it. The "fruit loops" aren't in charge any more, and the more they rant and rave, the less likely that they will regain it.

Aaron McGrogor 5 months ago

Why is everyone so convinced that he'll definitely win a second term?

Brad Greenwood 5 months ago

If you call what we've done so far "ranting and raving", Harlan buddy, you ain't seen nothin' yet!
And 8 years? Between possible impeachment, his own health or just being bored and giving it up like any other spoiled child, I seriously doubt he'll last the first 4.

Bob Summers 5 months ago

Buffet is upset with this. His trains will go hungry for something to do not hauling oil in the future.

His fascist help from Obama is over.

On the plus side for Liberals, Buffet's trains will no longer be polluting the air hauling all the oil.

Steve Jacob 5 months ago

This is no shock to anyone, any Republican elected was going to restart Keystone.

Marc Wilborn 5 months ago

2018 is lined up to be a disaster for Senate Democrats if anything Trump does works.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months ago

So I saw him say something like "Look at this. We are building pipelines again." Only this "America first" guy has just allowed a Canadian oil group to build a pipeline through Native land to be sent to our refineries to give us gas? No, this gas will be sent to China. You know. That place that Trump doesn't like, except when he needs to sell a line of Trump clothes, and doesn't want to pay American workers. I wonder how many guest Canadian workers are building this pipeline. Wonder how much Trump's businesses, run by his sons, are involved. A pipeline, not for Americans, but for Canada and China? Who's first?

Bob Smith 5 months ago

If the pipeline is blocked, then Canada will probably sell directly to China. Refined gasoline from the pipeline will stay in America.

Brock Masters 5 months ago

What is the basis for your contention that the gasoline refined here will be sold to China?

The pipeline is indeed for the US as it will supply crude to our refineries. Better to get it from Canada than the Middle East. However, I do not support the use of eminent domain to take land from Americans to give to a foreign government or any private entity.

If they can't buy the land then tough they then can't build the pipeline.

Brandon Devlin 5 months ago

And, lets not forget that the crude that will come across the Dakota Access Pipeline is not Canadian at all. It's all from the Bakken fields in North Dakota.

Armen Kurdian 5 months ago

This may come as a shock to you, but there is an overlap in our imports and exports because of the antiquated energy infrastructure we have. Often, it's cheaper to export gasoline from one port and import gasoline from a different country in another port for a myriad of reasons, including where the rail line run, locations of refineries, the Jones Act, etc.

Pipelines will serve several purposes. First, less oil travels by rail, reducing risk of accident. Second, volume of oil transported can increase or decrease somewhat easier than via other methods. Third, oil gets to needed refineries that can then create POLs that will be easier to keep in the borders, ultimately reducing imports...less ships crossing the ocean, less pollution by those ships.

So pipelines will help the environment, not hurt it. So there you go, a serious & thoughtful response.

Ken Lassman 4 months, 4 weeks ago

OK, I'll bite--let's have a serious and thoughtful conversation, Armen.

Your point that pipelines are safer and use less energy to transport than rails and trucks completely misses the two main points that are driving the conversation. 1) If the fact that it is too dangerous to ship the tar sands oil by rail and tanker trucks is important, then why is it being allowed now? The real driving force for the pipelines is that the tar sands oil producers are losing money shipping by truck and rail. Economically they are losing money if they ship by rail/truck if the price they receive is too low, which is exactly what is currently happening according to a study you can read here: https://rbnenergy.com/desperadoes-part-2-canadian-heavy-crude-oil-producers-can-t-make-it-up-on-volume or here: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23022016/tar-sands-becoming-worthless-production-rises-even-prices-plummet Suncor lost 2 billion in the last quarter of 2015 largely because of this; a pipeline reduces the cost of transport to make this potentially more viable economically, which is what this has always been about.

The second point of course is about oil's contribution to greenhouse gases and the resulting disruption of our atmospheric chemistry which has led to warmer, more acidic oceans, hotter land, more extreme weather events (both in frequency and severity), poleward shift/disruption of wildlife habitat, with increasing impacts that will continue for centuries even if carbon emissions stopped completely tomorrow. According to the Global Carbon Project, humanity's most accurate accounting of greenhouse gas emissions (available here: http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/16/files/GCP_CarbonBudget_2016.pdf ), 34% of the 9.9 Gigatonnes per year of carbon emitted by human activity comes from oil. A gigatonne is 1 billion metric tons, or 2200lb/tonne. Tar sands needs to be heated up and laced with solvents to create a slurry that can be pushed through a pipeline and is also much more corrosive than regular crude. The end product is low quality, high emission crude bitumen, kinda like your grampa's old 1962 Lincoln Continental that gets 5 mpg and is followed by a trail of blue smoke wherever it goes. Market access is actually a bad idea even if prices occasionally will turn a profit for those companies who have made the investment in extracting this stuff: it should be kept in the ground if we have any chance of curbing carbon emissions to avoid the increasingly bad consequences of the changed atmospheric chemistry.

So pipelines will not help the environment at all even though if you draw a very tight circle around the issue of transportation you can make such a case. Penny wise and pound foolish is the phrase that comes to mind. Serious and thoughtful conversations can ensue if you choose to respond, Armen.

Harlan Hobbs 5 months ago

Dorothy, certainly hope you weren't one of the ones dressed in a vagina costume last weekend in Washington D.C. Actually, I'll bet you are more like Ashley Judd, who calls herself "a nasssty woman."

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months ago

Harlan, if the hats looked like vaginas to you, maybe you need to go back to sex ed. You just didn't get the joke at all, did you. Your fearless leader should be able to explain it to you though. Oh but, he doesn't want to hear from you peons. He has shut down access to the presidency. He doesn't even want to hear what you have to say.

Of course, you seem to wait until you are told what to say. Every time I hear a new phrase come out of you or the Bobs, I check in with Brietbart and Rush, and sure enough, there it is. Try being more original.

Harlan Hobbs 5 months ago

No joke, but a lot of symbolism. A head sticking out of a vagina.

If you had watched the coverage as opposed to just being there taking up space, you would have seen all of the lunacy.

The bottom line is, if you think that those feminist antics make you part of the main stream among women, you are grossly misguided.

Did you have a 50 year reunion with some of your hippie friends?

By the way, thanks for attending and pumping up the economy. Maybe that's why the Dow is now above 20,000. Read em and weep.

Greg Cooper 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, dingbat, she had the courage and moral strength to actually be there, and you sat in your easy chair thinking of stuff to denigrate. And you, Harlan, exhibit no knowledge of the "mainstream of women". Care to explain that?

Ken Lassman 4 months, 4 weeks ago

""Today's news is a breath of fresh air, and proof that President Trump won't let radical special-interest groups stand in the way of doing what's best for American workers," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate."

Mr. Cormyn's top campaign contributers for his most recent Senate re-election campaign: Exxon Mobil, Valero Oil, Blackstone. Law firms were also major contributers. Cormyn's campaign spent over $17 million, more than $11 million than his opponent.

Money sure talks, don't it?

Greg Cooper 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Of course. Corporations and law firms are people too, don't you know?

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