Keystone XL oil pipeline battle has only just begun
When it comes to the fate of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline, proponents and foes agree that the fight did not end with President Obama’s decision Wednesday to reject the pipeline’s permit application. The question is how the battle will be waged in the months to come.
A war of words is being fought on the campaign trail. And some House Republicans vow to again seek legislation to clear the path for the controversial pipeline. Environmental groups say they will fight not only new Keystone proposals but also other major oil pipelines that would carry crude from Canada’s oil sands region.
Raising the stakes in a bitter election-year fight with Republicans, President Obama on Wednesday rejected a Canadian company’s plan to build a 1,700-mile pipeline to carry oil across six U.S. states to Texas refineries. (Jan. 18)
Meanwhile, TransCanada, which proposed the pipeline, said it will not only file a new permit application but also might pursue a truncated system within U.S. borders that would not require State Department approval. Such a pipeline could serve the growing output from the Bakken shale oil fields in Montana, ease the bottleneck of crude oil at the major terminal in Cushing, Okla., and later hook up with cross-border lines.
“We think that the Keystone pipeline will get built,” said Jamie Webster, a senior manager at the Washington consulting firm PFC Energy. “The caveat is that it might not be called the Keystone pipeline. The point is that there will be a way for these barrels to find a way to the United States.”