U.S. rejects Keystone XL: next let’s stop Sabal Trail!

Thanks to Bill McKibben and everyone else who made that pipeline an international cause. Now let’s stop Spectra’s Sabal “Sinkhole” Trail and keep Kinder Morgan’s Palmetto pipeline denied. And let’s stop the Trans-Pacific Parternership (TPP) before it can produce more “free trade” countries for LNG export.

Coral Davenport, New York Times, 6 November 2015, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline,

President Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he is seeking to build an ambitious legacy on climate change.

“The pipeline would not make a meaningful longterm contribution to our economy,” Mr. Obama said in remarks from the White House.

The move was made ahead of a major United Nations summit meeting on climate change to be held in Paris in December, when Mr. Obama hopes to help broker a historic agreement committing the world’s nations to enacting new policies to counter global warming. While the rejection of the pipeline is largely symbolic, Mr. Obama has sought to telegraph to other world leaders that the United States is serious about acting on climate change.

POTUS, Twitter, 6 November 2015, —@POTUS on rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline,

“Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security.”

And this one is just as true of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Palmetto petroleum products pipeline across all Georgia coastal rivers to Jacksonville. POTUS, Twitter, 6 November 2015, —@POTUS on Keystone,

“The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers. In fact, gas prices have already been falling steadily”

It’s even more true of Spectra Energy’s proposed Sabal “Sinkhole” Trail pipeline across southwest Georgia to Florida, which just happens to go to multiple already-approved LNG export operations in Martin County, Florida, and from which in Suwannee County Kinder Morgan has already proposed to FERC another “natural” fracked methane gas pipeline to Jacksonville, which is loudly gearing up for LNG export. LNG export would drive up U.S. domestic natural gas prices, all to profit FPL and Spectra Energy from Houston, Texas at our expense.

Obama didn’t like Keystone XL becoming such an issue. Bill Chappell, NPR, 6 November 2015, President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Plan,

In rejecting the proposal today, President Obama said that the Keystone debate has played an “over-inflated role in our political discourse” — something for which he blamed both parties.

The president also disagreed with what he described as critics’ claims that the completed pipeline would be “the express lane to climate disaster.”

And now a word from the one person most responsible for making Keystone XL a major cause, a shibboleth, a sticking point:

Bill McKibben, co-founder of the group 350.org, said the move gives Obama “new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight.”

McKibben added: “We’re still awfully sad about Keystone south and are well aware that the next president could undo all this, but this is a day of celebration.”

Well, maybe the next U.S. president will have nothing to undo. There’s a new prime minister in Canada, and he’s making some changes. Carrie Tait, Globe and Mail, 5 November 2015, Trudeau’s new ministry for climate change spooks oil patch,

Mr. Trudeau, who on Wednesday created a new ministry dubbed Environment and Climate Change, put rookie member of Parliament Catherine McKenna in charge of the department. Jim Carr, another new face in the House of Commons, will serve as Minister of Natural Resources. Ms. McKenna is from Ontario and Mr. Carr from Manitoba.

And these changes seem to be for real action. Carol Linnitt, Desmog Blog, 5 November 2015, Canada’s New Climate Change Minister ‘Excited’ To Tackle Emissions. Is this For Real?!,

But it might be even more newsworthy that McKenna is promising that Canada will be a constructive player at the upcoming UN climate talks in Paris next month.

After years of international scrutiny for playing an obstructive role in international climate negotiations and a former environment minister who performed awkward linguistic gymnastics to avoid using the words “climate change,” McKenna’s enthusiasm signals a new era for Canada’s role on the global climate stage.

Speaking outside Parliament Wednesday after her first day in office, McKenna said she is “really excited” to get down to work on Canada’s climate file.

“It’s going to be a lot of hard work. This is a really important file. It’s a really important file to Canadians — both the environment but also tackling climate change. We need to be ambitious and I’m ready to work hard and get down to action,” McKenna told the CBC. “This is why I got into politics: to make a difference. I have three kids and this portfolio could not be more important to their future.”

That sounds good so far.

Meanwhile, we’ve got maybe 60 days to stop TPP. Don’t believe this kind of misdirection: Argus, 5 Novembewr 2015, US sidelines crude, LNG exports in TPP deal,

The agreement creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade area will allow the US to keep intact the restriction on crude exports and the current LNG export licensing system.

That pretends that there are any real licensing procesures for LNG export. Remember, AES Port of Palm Beach LNG export at end of Transco → Sabal Trail → FSC pipeline chain,

A company from Wyoming based in Chicago was rubberstamped in November 2013 to export liquid natural gas (LNG) from the Port of Palm Beach, and it can transport LNG “over highways and/or by rail”. Advanced Energy Solutions (AES) intends to get its fracked methane from Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company (FLiNG), which is conveniently located right where the Transco → Sabal Trail → FSC pipeline chain goes in Martin County, FL. This LNG approval was done without public hearings, with public input hidden, and with a clause to hide LNG export contract details. This they claim is “consistent with the public interest”.

Because FE is required to decide on applications within 30 days, FE explicitly said it didn’t even review most of the assertions made by the applicant.

You can read the text of TPP for yourself.

If Obama wants a climate legacy, he needs to stop TPP, too. And if he won’t do it, we have to do it for him, by getting Congress to reject TPP.

And the road to Congress may run through Paris. Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 6 November 2015, How Obama’s Keystone XL rejection adds momentum to the Paris climate talks,

“This is the last but also the biggest card that the president could play to compel other world leaders to take strong action in Paris next month,” says Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, which has long opposed the pipeline.

Actually, rejecting Keystone XL wasn’t the last card. The last card would have been rejecting TPP. But if Obama won’t do that, massive success in Paris could help get Congress to reject TPP.

Oh, and let’s stop Sabal Trail, taking away one possible source of LNG export. While protecting our lands, wells, rivers, and air from that invasion from Texas.

-jsq

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