IT'S TAR SANDS, NOT JUST THE PIPELINE, THAT THREATEN THE
By William Boardman Email address removed"> Email address removed
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The same day that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was promising a "fair and transparent" review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast, the CEO of the company building that pipeline, TransCanada's Russ Girling, was reported as saying that his company's "Plan A" was finishing a different pipeline that would take the same tar sands oil to Canada's east coast.
"Canada's second-largest pipeline company proposes to ship oil 3,000 miles (4,825 kilometers) to the Atlantic Coast, allowing producers to send it by tanker to the Gulf, Girling said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg's New York headquarters.
"While he expects U.S. passage of Keystone "very soon,' the East Coast route makes sense in any event because of rising production from Alberta, Girling said."
TransCanada presently has about $22 billion worth of pipeline projects underway, of which Keystone XL represents about a third of the total. Asked if an east coast pipeline was a fallback plan in case Keystone is blocked, Girling said: "It's not a Plan B, it's a Plan A, and it will go if the market supports it, along with Keystone". Once you get on tidewater, you can get anywhere, and you don't need a presidential permit to bring oil into the Gulf Coast."
That the head of a pipeline company is more interested in getting tar sands oil to market than he is in what it may cause after that is perhaps not surprising. Girling isn't a climate change denier, he just sees change taking decades during which TransCanada will try to make the transition to non-fossil fuels, which is why the company built three large wind farms in 2011.
Keystone Needs Presidential Permission to Proceed
But there may not be decades, there may be no time at all, according to a long National Journal story on February 7, with the headline: "The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change Is Costing You" -- costing you now, the sub-head emphasizes: "While policymakers fiddle, the threat of economic harm posed by rising sea levels, devastating storms, and drought is growing every day."
On January 22, Greenpeace released a 60-page report called "Point of No Return," dealing with "massive climate threats we must avoid," while giving little reason to think we will avoid them:
"The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change.