More Protests in the Pipeline

Pipelines are essential to get crude oil and natural gas from a production site to processing and then for use in the market. When properly constructed, operated and maintained within the pipeline safety rules, they provide an efficient method to transport these products that are so valuable to our economy. However, in recent years, it has become more and more common for environmental groups to protest the construction of new (and safer) pipelines.

The years-long and still ongoing saga of the Keystone XL Pipeline is well known. After undergoing numerous environmental reviews that established it had little overall environmental impact, President Obama declined to grant authority to construct the trans-boundary portion of the pipeline. President Trump issued a Presidential Memoranda in which he invited TransCanada to resubmit its application and stated a final permitting decision must be made within 60 days of the resubmittal. TransCanada submitted its application within several days. Continue reading “More Protests in the Pipeline”

ALERT: The Trump Administration’s First Week

President Trump and his staff have taken several steps to implement his environmental agenda.

As reported previously (see Freeze on Regulations), Mr. Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, on January 20, 2017, issued a Memorandum requiring, among other things, that all federal agencies postpone the effective date of all regulations published in the Federal Register but not yet effective as of January 20, 2017. EPA, on January 23, 2017, complied, postponing the effective date of thirty rules until March 21, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 8499 (Jan. 26, 2017). The thirty regulations include the:

  • Risk Management Program revisions (previously effective on March 14, 2017),
  • Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017 (previously effective on February 10, 2017), and
  • Addition of a subsurface intrusion component to the hazard ranking system (previously effective on February 8, 2017).

Continue reading “ALERT: The Trump Administration’s First Week”

The hurdles for Trump’s EPA

The new Trump administration has made repeated statements regarding overly burdensome environmental regulations. For example, in his “Contract with the American Voter,” Trump pledged to lift restrictions on the production of energy reserves — including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal — and allow the Keystone Pipeline to move forward. There have also been numerous statements regarding the repeal — in whole or in part — of existing regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan. Continue reading “The hurdles for Trump’s EPA”

The Keystone XL Pipeline Passes The President’s Red-Line On Climate

Avoiding a favorable decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline got a bit harder for the Obama Administration as the US State Department issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Pipeline in January. Overall, the Final Supplemental EIS supports the issuance of the necessary permits mainly because it establishes that the Pipeline meets and exceeds President Obama’s stated test for approval.

The Pipeline will stretch 875 miles and carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day originating in Western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will proceed through existing pipelines to refineries on the Gulf Coast. TransCanada first filed for the presidential permit (required because of the international aspect of the Pipeline) in 2008. The latest permit request includes a pipeline route that avoids the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills Region in Nebraska, which was a source of criticism of the previous application. Continue reading “The Keystone XL Pipeline Passes The President’s Red-Line On Climate”

Keystone Pipeline Decision Looms

According to most polls, there is general support for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Most people are familiar with the basic facts about the pipeline. It will have the capacity to transport over 800,000 barrels of oil per day from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to the refineries of the Gulf Coast, significantly reducing dependence on oil from Venezuela and the Middle East. It will create thousands of jobs in the construction and pipe fabrication fields, providing a boost to a sluggish economy. Overall, the project will add billions to the gross domestic product of the country.

TransCanada’s original application was filed in 2008 and re-filed in May, 2012. The governor of Nebraska approved the pipeline’s revised route through his state so that an important source of drinking water was protected. In March, 2013, the US State Department released a Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement which concluded, among other things, that “there would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed [pipeline] route.” Continue reading “Keystone Pipeline Decision Looms”

Impediments to Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Constricts Supply

The oil and gas industry has been a mainstay of the Louisiana and Texas economies for decades. Investments in exploration, production, transportation, refining, and distribution of oil, gas, and related products create jobs and a steady living for those who work in and supply those areas. Unfortunately, fossil-fuels are not considered ‘green’ enough by this administration. As a result, decisions have been made that negatively impact oil and gas production.

With gasoline prices on the rise, there is so much more that can be done to create additional jobs and secure additional supply of oil and gas here in the United States. A good first step is a federal administration that actually encourages oil and gas production. Continue reading “Impediments to Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Constricts Supply”

The Keystone Cop-Out

You may recall the old black and white movies of the hapless Keystone Cops, who run about frantically in aimless fashion and never seem be able to achieve anything. Whenever I read anything about the Keystone XL Pipeline, I cannot help but think of those grainy images as interested parties, such as environmentalists, unions, Congress, and the Obama Administration, scurry about in every direction and jockey for position and political cover during this election cycle.

The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is a $13 billion investment by TransCanada. The pipeline is designed to transport about 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to US refining markets. The proposed pipeline will originate in Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would tie into an existing pipeline (Keystone Phase II) running to Cushing, Oklahoma. From Cushing, the proposed pipeline will continue to the Port Arthur/Houston area. The project is stated to create about 20,000 ‘shovel-ready’ construction jobs and an additional 118,000 jobs through increased business for local goods and services. Industry support is near universal and even labor and construction unions have expressed support for the project. Continue reading “The Keystone Cop-Out”