“It’s bulls—,” said Sierra Club President Michael Brune. “This is no way to run a government. We’ve got Republicans in Congress who are willing to hold the entire government hostage simply to give a Christmas present to industry.”
For greens, the fact that the Keystone pipeline was back on the table five weeks after Obama had seemingly punted it until 2013 is causing considerable heartburn with an administration that hasn’t been as green as they once wished.
A provision included in the payroll-tax package approved by the Senate and expected to be sent to President Obama by the House next week, would require the administration to issue the permit within 60 days or explain why the 1,700-mile, $7 billion pipeline is not in the national interest.
The project would carry 700,000 barrels of tar-sands oil per day from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast; many environmentalists say it would threaten sensitive lands and waters in the middle of the country while production of the carbon-heavy oil would significantly contribute to climate change.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., a chief sponsor of the bill to force a quick decision, said State’s “characterization of our Keystone XL legislation is blatantly misleading,” as the language in the legislation would deem the NEPA requirements fulfilled by the final environmental impact assessment (EIS) issued for the project in August. Lugar’s bill states that State’s final EIS “satisfies all requirements” of NEPA and the National Historic Preservation Act and that “no further Federal environmental review shall be required.”
Canada agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, but its emissions of the gases blamed for damaging Earth’s fragile climate system have instead increased sharply.
Saying the targets agreed by a previous Liberal administration were unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government last year unveiled its own measures aimed at curbing emissions, in line with US efforts. Pulling out of Kyoto now allows Canada to avoid paying penalties of up to CAN$14 billion (US$13.6 billion) for missing its targets.