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Oil Lobbyist: We Built the Equivalent of 10 Keystones Since 2010 and “No One’s Complained”

Earth First! Newswire

November 8, 2015

by Steve Horn

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Here’s why the oil industry is not so concerned about the defeat of KXL.

Today President Barack Obama announced his decision, alongside Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. State Department, to nix the northern leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The announcement was the culmination of a years-long nationwide grassroots and environmental group fight against the pipeline project which was set to carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of Alberta’s carbon-intensive crude across several heartland states and into Cushing, Oklahoma.

While the Obama White House Keystone XL decision has been celebrated by most environmentalists and criticized by Big Oil and its front groups, the truth is much more complex and indeed, dirty.

That’s because for years behind the scenes – as most media attention and activist energy has gone into fighting Keystone XL North – the Obama Administration has quietly been approving hundreds of miles-long pieces of pipeline owned by industry goliath Enbridge and other companies.

“Keystone XL Clone”

I’ve called one of these patchwork networks of pipelines the “Keystone XL Clone” in my reporting.

That pipeline system does the very same thing the rest of TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline System at-large also already does, even without the Keystone XL North piece in place. That is, it brings Alberta’s tar sands oil across the heartland of the U.S. and down to the U.S. Gulf coast.

Enbridge’s system is the combination of the following pipelines: Line 3, Line 67/Alberta Clipper, Line 61, Flanagan South and the Seaway Twin.

This probably explains why Enbridge was so confident that it announced it would be spending $5 billion to build holding facilities down in the Gulf just two days before the White House’s Keystone XL decision.

“Enbridge’s Gulf Coast plan calls for three terminals stretching from Houston toward New Orleans at St. James Parish,” explained The Wall Street Journal. “Each could have crude storage tanks, ship docks, pipelines and other infrastructure to allow for both the import and export of U.S. and Canadian crude as well as processed condensate and refined products.”

TransCanada, for what it’s worth, also will have a new tar sands pipeline in place soon too that’s been lost in the celebratory shuffle. As the company announced in its investor call this week, the Houston Lateral pipeline that connects to the southern leg of Keystone XL will open for business during the second quarter of 2016.

“Today’s victory comes at a huge cost. Here in Texas and Oklahoma, we lost on KXL,” activist group Tar Sands Blockade stated over Facebook. “For almost two years now KXL has been pumping roughly 400,000 barrels per day of tar sands direct from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, bringing toxic emissions and daily insecurity to countless families across our region. Today is not a step forward, its more like slowing the rate of moving backwards.”