Senate Bill to Revive Keystone XL Pipeline Introduced

Barely three weeks after the Administration decided to seek additional study on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rather than approve the project, Senate Republicans introduced a bill to try to force the President’s hand. On November 30, 2011, Richard Lugar (R-IN) led an effort with 37 other Senators to require the Administration to either approve the pipeline within 60 days or determine that it is not in the national interest.

If constructed, the pipeline would transport crude oil fromAlberta,Canadato theTexasGulfCoast. Extracting and refining oil from the Canadian tar sands is considered the most polluting and carbon intensive oil process on the planet.

The President and the State Department concluded on November 10 that the environmental consequences of the pipeline’s route warrant greater study. The State Department also noted that in addition to concerns about specific routes for the pipeline, attention should be paid to the project’s implications for climate change.  Green America welcomed the decision to postpone action on the pipeline and continues to press for the cancellation of this massive fossil fuel project. Any environmental report, conducted with integrity, will identify major reasons to abandon the project.

Supporters of the new bill are trying to extract a political cost from the Administration for not moving ahead with the pipeline immediately. In particular, they emphasize the need for job creation. Green America urges everyone concerned about the relationship between this pipeline and US job creation and retention to read the latest report on the issue from CornellUniversity’s Global Labor Institute. The report, Pipe Dreams? Jobs gained, Jobs Lost By the Construction of the Keystone XL  shows how industry data on job creation has been wildly exaggerated – and how the pipeline could actually cost US jobs.

Fortunately, this bill isn’t likely to go far in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Yet we’ll need ongoing, informed pressure from Green Americans to ensure that the current delay in constructing the pipeline turns into its cancellation. Now is the time for investment in US renewable energy programs that can create enduring jobs while creating the clean energy future we desperately need.

Categories: clean energy

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  1. Hi, you are claiming that the oil extracted from the Canadian tar sands is considered the most polluting and carbon intensive oil process on the planet.
    Let’s agree that you could be right and look at the matter from another perspective. Do you prefer to get the oil from a “less” friendly or politically instable country? Do yours members knows that right now USA imports close to 30% (29.9% on Sept 2011) of his oil from Canada? Canada could always sell his oil to Asia or other countries… Instead, why you do not just push for more safety and regulations? Or a problem with Canada?

    • Thank you very much for your email. I’m sure polls would confirm that many in the US do not realize how much oil we do indeed get from Canada. Green America’s emphasis on the KXL issue is on the need to move our nation away from reliance on fossil fuels and to promote investment in the domestic renewable energy sector. You can read about our Clean Energy Victory Bond project at We do not support projects that would deepen our dependence on oil (from any source) and thereby further exacerbate the climate crisis.

      A little understood point about the KXL is that some of this oil would likely be for export — not for US consumption at all. The energy security argument is not what many believe it to be. Gulf Coast refineries will refine the oil (how much?) for use elsewhere. You may be interested in this piece from the National Resources Defense Council on the issue:

      The challenge before us is to cut carbon pollution and to build a clean energy economy.

    • @Carlo M – I believe that Green America’s position on the Keystone pipeline goes beyond the “friendliness” of the oil exporting country. Personally, I’d like to see more R&D money going to homegrown energy sources like wind and solar that reduce our dependence on foreign oil (whether from friendly countries, or not). Doing so helps to reduce climate impacts while virtually eliminating any disasters that result from oil tankers or oil rigs spilling and causing environmental and economic harm.

  2. Instead of drilling and dginigg fuels for existing power plants, we should be developing new and different poser sources that use renewable fuels. We should return to steam power and not allow the petroleum industry kill it like they did the last time. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is a byproduct of liquid oxygen production and universities have driven experimental vehicles using it as fuel, but they lost funding, probably as a result of petroleum. LN2 could be used to sustain aircraft in flight, as once it turns back into a diatomic gas, it simply returns to the atmosphere. What we need are people with ideas not affiliated with the automotive and petroleum industries.

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