United States: the imbroglio on the Keystone pipeline continues

Des opposants au projet Keyston XL manifestent en mars 2014 devant la Maison Blanche pour demander au président Obama de bloquer le pipeline.

Opponents of the Keyston XL project manifest in March 2014 outside the White House to call on President Obama to block the pipeline Photo credit:. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images

New twist for the pipeline project that will link the Canadian province of Alberta in the US state of Nebraska company TransCanada, which in 2008 filed a license application for construction, called for the suspension of consideration of his application. Some see it as a maneuver to wait for the successor Barack Obama.

This is a project which weighs eight billion dollars. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 daily barrels of oil per day over 1900 km of the province of Alberta, in Western Canada to the State of Nebraska, in the central United States. Connected to the existing network, it will supply the US Gulf of Mexico refineries with oil from Canadian oil sands.

The veto Barack Obama

Last February, President Barack Obama has vetoed a law passed by the US Republican Congress authorizing the construction of this giant pipeline. The Canadian company behind the project, TransCanada, has surprised yesterday by demanding the suspension of consideration of his application for a building permit. She argues the filing of an application with the Commission for Public Service of Nebraska, whose examination should take seven to twelve months.

The US State Department is studying the request for suspension “to determine the exact content and motives, according to the spokesman of the presidency, Josh Earnest. But given all the time spent (in this case), it seems odd to ask such a pause. ”

This pause could defer consideration of the application after the presidential election. If Hillary Clinton has shown itself opposed to the project, all the Republican candidates were in favor of it. Many observers therefore believe that TransCanada bet on an alternation in the White House, Barack Obama convinced that will never allow this project, especially since he vetoed in February to the law passed by Congress.

For the opposition to this project are vivid. These critics initially denounced the conditions of exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta that are large emitters of greenhouse gases. Then they denounce an encouragement to the extraction of oil from oil sands at a time when the fight against climate change is presented as a priority.

But Republicans and some local Democrats who support this project highlight the massive creation of jobs: 42,000 direct and indirect. The import Canadian oil will decrease the energy dependence of Gulf and Venezuela. They even have an ecological argument by suggesting that the transportation of oil by pipeline is safer than transport by train.

The proposed suspension of the application may be also linked to current conditions in the oil market. In 2008, when the project was designed, barrel was at $ 150. It is no longer today than 50 dollars. It would therefore be more profitable for TransCanada to postpone this important investment until more favorable over the financing of such a project.

At the White House, we are assured that President Barack Obama, who seemed longer procrastinate on this issue, wants to make a decision before the end of his term in January 2017. The latest initiative of TransCanada could the prevent it.

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