Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

TransCanada's Latest Extreme Energy Pipelines in the U.S. and Canada

Energy
TransCanada's Latest Extreme Energy Pipelines in the U.S. and Canada

DeSmogBlog

By Steve Horn

TransCanada was once in the limelight and targeted for its Keystone XL pipeline project. Now, with few eyes watching, it is pushing along two key pipeline projects that would bring two respective forms of what energy geopolitics scholar Michael Klare calls "extreme energy" to lucrative export markets.

Pipeline one: The southern segment of the originally proposed TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, popularly referred to as the Cushing Extension, but officially referred to as either the Gulf Coast Project or the Cushing Marketlink pipeline. This pipeline will carry tar sands crude, or "dilbit," extracted from Alberta, Canada's Athabasca oil sands project southward first to Cushing, Okla., and then to Port Arthur, Texas, where it will be shipped off to global export markets.

While the northern Alberta-to-Cushing segment has been punted until after election season by President Barack Obama's U.S. State Department, the Cushing-Port Arthur segment has been rammed through in a secrective manner by various Obama regulatory agencies, as pointed out recently by Friends of the Earth-U.S. (FOE-U.S.). 

FOE-U.S. explained in a long blog post published on June 5, well worth reading in its entirety:

Three Army Corps of Engineers district offices—in Tulsa, OK, Ft. Worth and Galveston, TX—are charged with reviewing TransCanada’s applications for the southern leg of Keystone XL. The Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed that TransCanada submitted its applications to the Corps district offices in Galveston and Tulsa for Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) coverage on May 11, triggering a 45-day deadline by which the Corps must approve or deny the permits. The Corps can approve or reject the permits before the 45 days are over but if the agency does not respond within the 45 days, the permits are automatically approved by default, allowing TransCanada to proceed with construction.

In response to mounting media scrutiny from reporters like Elana Schor at E&E and Ramit Plushnick-Masti at the Associated Press, Corps officials recently confirmed that the 45 days will run out on June 26 for the Galveston office and on June 28 for the Tulsa office, while the Ft. Worth office is still evaluating TransCanada’s application materials for that district.

The key nugget here: with or without the Keystone XL pipeline, there are already several Canada-U.S. border-crossing tar sands pipelines that snake their way to Cushing and then down to Port Arthur for eventual exportation. Examples include the 2009 Obama administration-approved Enbridge Alberta Clipper Pipeline, Enbridge's Line 9 Pipeline (referred to as "Keystone XL East," by some), and TransCanada's original and already-existing Keystone Pipeline.  

FOE-U.S.'s Kim Huynh explaind the costs and consequences of the scheme quite cleary, writing in a blog post:

As the clock ticks on TransCanada’s southern permit applications, one thing is very clear: The Obama administration’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will have far-ranging consequences for communities’ drinking water, public health and local economies all along its path as well as for our shared climate. The pipeline, in carrying the world’s dirtiest oil—tar sands oil—to the Gulf Coast for export, would help ignite the carbon bomb in Canada’s tar sands, further fueling climate disruption.

(Snip)

The project would inflate oil industry profits while threatening our heartland with costly spills, amplifying the already-debilitating air pollution in refinery communities on the Gulf Coast, and vastly drive the expansion of climate-destabilizing tar sands development and consumption.

Pipeline Two: Simultaneously, TransCanada announced plans to build a pipeline for unconventional gas fracked from the Horn River Shale basin to move westward to the B.C. LNG (liquified natural gas) Facility, a facility co-owned by Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina, located in Kitimat, British Columbia. 

Reuters wrote of the venture, 

TransCanada, Canada's No. 1 pipeline company, said it would design and build a 700-kilometer (434-mile) line capable of shipping 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day from Dawson Creek in northeast British Columbia to Kitimat, where three LNG plants, including Shell's facility, are planned.

(Snip)

The line will run near Enbridge Inc's Northern Gateway oil pipeline project, which will also end at Kitimat. Currently in regulatory hearings, Northern Gateway faces strong opposition from environmental groups and many of the aboriginal communities along its planned route.

Unmentioned by Reuters, the pipeline will also run next to the EOG Resources, Apache Canada, EnCana Corporation-owned Pacific Trails Pipelines, set to send gas fracked in the Horn River Shale basin westward to Kitimat and on to Asian export markets.

"Ethical Oil," "Energy Security," "Energy Independence"? A Pipe(line) Dream

Though the North American business trendlines for coal, unconventional oil and gas, and tar sands crude all point to a boom in exports, the dirty energy industry's public relations line has been that the domestic fossil fuel extraction rush has ushered in a new source of "ethical oil" (as opposed to that dastardly OPEC oil), which will present North America with "energy security" and "energy independence."

This couldn't be further from the truth. The fossil fuel industry is run by multinational corporations with no loyalty to any given nation-state (hence, "multinational").

As the old adage goes, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

Visit EcoWatch's KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.

 

With restaurants and supermarkets becoming less viable options during the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand and supply of local food. Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County / Flickr

By Robin Scher

Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A technician inspects a bitcoin mining operation at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
OR-93 traveled hundreds of miles from Oregon to California. Austin Smith Jr. / Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

An Oregon-born wolf named OR-93 has sparked conservation hopes with a historic journey into California.

Read More Show Less
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

Read More Show Less