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Keystone XL Isn’t Dead Yet
George Zornick, The Nation
This week, Republicans in Congress have launched two different attempts to resurrect the delayed, and possibly dead, Keystone XL pipeline. One was clearly a public relations stunt, but the other could present a much more serious problem for pipeline opponents.
Early in the week, leading Republicans gathered to promote a bill by Indiana Senator Richard Lugar that would direct President Obama to act within sixty days on Keystone XL. The administration’s current policy is to push back action until early 2013 as alternate routes are studied, but the Republicans called for an immediate decision: “If the administration would simply get out of the way and let it go forward, it would create jobs almost immediately. Lots of jobs,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. (This is not true, unless you have a very low bar for defining “lots.”)
Lugar’s bill has thirty-seven Republican co-sponsors, but isn’t really that dangerous—it won’t find enough Democratic support to pass the Senate. It’s really just a way to publicly whack Obama for delaying the project, not a viable attempt to get it going again.
But Representative Lee Terry, a Republican of Nebraska, has a much more serious plan. He announced today that he’s crafting a bill that would take the Keystone decision away from Obama’s State Department, and award it to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The bill would also require FERC to issue a permit for the project within 30 days from receiving an application from TransCanada.
(2 December 2011)
Gas exports soar, keeping U.S. price at pump high
David R. Baker, San FranciscoChronicle
Faced with sluggish sales at home, American refineries are shipping gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products abroad in record amounts, turning the country into a net exporter of fuel.
And that’s one of the reasons gasoline now costs more than ever before, for this time of year.
The United States, long the world’s most voracious consumer of fuel, still imports almost half of its crude oil, the raw material for gasoline and diesel. But starting in 2008, the country began exporting more refined petroleum products than it imported. And the gap keeps growing.
… The recession and tepid recovery have tempered America’s thirst for gasoline, at the same time that drivers are turning toward more efficient cars. So refiners have sought – and found – eager markets for their fuel elsewhere. The exports, in turn, help prop up gasoline prices here.
“Instead of that product backing up and depressing prices, it’s being sent to other countries,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “It’s good news for the refining industries and their workers and the balance of trade and U.S. jobs.”
But Kloza predicts the exports could turn into a hot-button issue with drivers next year, if gasoline prices increase.
(3 December 2011)
Jeffrey J. Brown on this story: De-constructing the WSJ’s front page story, “U.S. nears milestone: net fuel exporter” (EB). -BA
Cairn’s $600 Million Greenland Oil Campaign Ends in Failure
Brian Swint, Bloomberg, Business Week
Cairn Energy Plc ended this year’s $600 million drilling program off Greenland after the biggest exploration campaign attempted in the Arctic island’s waters failed to make a viable discovery.
The AT7-1 well, which had encountered traces of oil and gas, has been plugged and abandoned, the Edinburgh-based company said today in a statement.
(1 December 2011)
Suggested by Jan Lundberg who writes: “Sounds like good news!”
Related at Globe and Mail: Cairn fails to find oil and gas off Greenland . -BA
A Shadow Climate Regime
Robert Engelman, ChinaDialog via Culture Change
“There should be recognition that per-capita rather than national emissions are the logical and fair basis for assessing proportionality, determining who bears the greatest responsibility for cutting emissions, and allocating emissions constraints.”
Culture Change Publisher’s Note: On Dec. 1, Robert Engelman, president of the Worldwatch Institute, unveiled his promising proposal for breaking through the nation-oriented, stalled climate treaty process. Writing from Dakar while his climate/energy director was in Durban for the UN climate talks, Engelman welcomed Culture Change’s republishing his proposal that appeared in ChinaDialog.net. Engelman presents the case for a new framework to address climate change, without the distinction between “developed” and “developing” nations.
(2 December 2011)