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Keystone XL Pipeline Update

Energy

BOLD Nebraska

Below is a recap of this week’s news related to the ongoing Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This week, we saw American Petroleum Institute significantly inflate the number of oil jobs created in 2011 while being complicit in holding 2.9 million transportation jobs hostage. Senate Democrats appear to have drawn a line in the sand on the Keystone XL rider that the House attached to its transportation bill extension, and Washington insiders agree that Keystone will go down again in the Senate. See below for more:

News & Developments:

  • The oil industry significantly inflates job numbers in order to distract from record profits while helping hold 2.9 million jobs hostage. The irony is thick. CNNMoney found that American Petroleum Institute’s 150,000 job count “comes from the broadest possible estimate of oil jobs” and extends far beyond “direct hire” oil jobs. “It includes everyone from the roughneck in North Dakota drilling a new oil well, to a trucker driving equipment to that oil job site, to jobs created by the spending of those oil workers, such as a clerk at a Wal-Mart or a stripper serving the workers drawn to one of those North Dakota oil boomtowns.”
  • Meanwhile, the oil industry has been complicit in holding 2.9 million transportation bill jobs hostage as it continuously lobbies for a Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the profits that it represents.
  • Senate Democrats draw the line with Keystone XL. Sen. Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Reid, and a majority of other Democratic senators on the conference committee have made it clear that Keystone XL and other environmental rollbacks have no place in the transportation bill. Senate Majority Leader Reid made it perfectly clear that he would not give in to or be held hostage to the tar sands pipeline when he said that he would “not help in any way” move Keystone XL across the finish line.
  • House and Senate name transportation bill conferees; Washington insiders speculate that Keystone XL will fail again. Nearly 80 percent of National Journal’s Energy & Environment Insiders predicted that the Keystone XL rider will not be included in the transportation bill that comes out of conference.
  • While Nebraska politicians move forward with the pipeline review, landowners’ concerns about the water supply fail to be addressed. While TransCanada’s proposed corridor avoids the Sandhills of southwest Holt County, it still crosses through northern Holt County. According to Inside Climate News and local landowners, the soil here “is often sandy and permeable and the water table is high—the same characteristics that make the Sandhills so vulnerable to the impact of an oil spill. In some parts of the new corridor, the groundwater lies so close to the surface that the pipeline would run through the aquifer instead of over it.”
  • In August of 2011, Gov. Heineman said, “I am opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route because it is directly over the Ogallala Aquifer.”
  • President Obama reiterates that the Keystone XL pipeline approval process is clear, and that Congress should not try to fast-track the project. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the president said, “I have adamantly objected to Congress trying to circumvent a process that was well-established not just under Democratic administrations, but also under Republican administrations.” Obama went on to stress the importance of dealing with climate change and said that he will “be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”
  • Gas prices remain in the news, but more sources confirm that Keystone XL will not help to ease the pain at the pump. Steve Yetic in the Christian Science Monitor writes: “Markets are unpredictable, impacted by greed, speculation, fear, global events and economics—almost none of which Obama can easily impact, even if he tries to nudge actors to put curbs on speculation.” USA Today’s Wendy Koch echoes those sentiments about the global nature of the oil market, and notes that U.S. oil production is in fact up in recent years.

Quotes of the Week:

“I think Keystone is a program that we’re not going, that I am not going to help in any way I can” – Harry Reid

“I will build that pipeline if I have to myself.” – Mitt Romney

In Case You Missed It

Target: Tar SandsIn These Times story on the growing number of activists along the pipeline route who are coming together in opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Abundant crude supply doesn't push gas prices downHearst Newspaper’s look into the oversupply of crude oil and the high price of domestic gasoline.

For more information, click here.

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