Keystone XL national interest comments deadline approaches

Groups on both sides said support has grown for their positions as the US Department of State’s Mar. 7 deadline approached for comments on whether the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is in the nation’s best interest.

“This time, we hope we’re finally set for approval,” said Cindy Schild, the American Petroleum Institute’s downstream senior operations manager for refining and oil sands.

“After five reviews, we hope to finally see public support make an impact in addition to the science that’s already on hand,” she told reporters during a Mar. 6 teleconference. “Just the 500,000 comments our organization was able to mobilize with its grassroots partners shows how strong the support is.”

Opponents announced they plan to deliver twice that amount—1 million—of public comments against a national interest finding to DOS on Mar. 7 following a rally at and march from a nearby park.

They said that US Sec. of State John F. Kerry “has stated that only now is he getting involved with the process, and [they] want to make sure he has full information about grassroots opposition, climate impacts, environmental and health concerns, and the lack of a route in Nebraska.”

Other pipelines planned

Schild said US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and other government experts have said Alberta’s oil sands will be developed no matter what the outcome is for TransCanada Corp.’s latest cross-border permit application for Keystone XL. Five other pipelines to move crude oil from the region have been announced, she noted.

“Certainly, Enbridge [Inc.] is looking at plans to bring oil sands oil to market as well,” Schild said. The Calgary company announced on Mar. 3 that it has received $7 billion of support from shippers to replace and increase the capacity of its Line 3 system from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wis., by second-half 2017.

Environmental organizations were not pleased. “Will this new pipeline ‘significantly exacerbate’ carbon pollution? Of course it will,” Doug Hayes, a Sierra Club staff attorney, said on Mar. 4. “Doubling the size of a pipeline that carries toxic, corrosive tar sands crude will require a full environmental review and will meet the same level of scrutiny and opposition as the other proposed tar sands pipeline projects.”

“We’re clearly seeing the need for more Canadian oil,” Schild said. “It’s replacing what we import from Venezuela. I think it shows that Keystone is more a political symbol than a reflection of the market as a whole.”

Congress shows patience

Asked about possible political ramifications, she said there has been some talk about how US President Barack Obama’s final decision and its timing could affect mid-term elections later this year.

“Certainly, we’ve seen efforts in Congress to take this decision out of the president’s hands, although there’s been more patience shown recently,” Schild said. “Several members are still pushing for approval.”

More than three quarters of likely voters polled in four key states—Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina—said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as Keystone XL, before deciding whom they will support, the Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance said on Mar. 5.

It said surveys conducted by Hickman Analytics Inc. of about 400 likely voters in each state found Democrats running for reelection to the US Senate would lose 42-46% of the respondents’ support in November if the president rejects the Keystone XL application despite three of the lawmakers supporting the project.

Schild said she thinks DOS has handled its latest deliberations process well. “There were over a million comments just on the last EIS alone,” she said during the teleconference. “Several hearings were held. The time probably lagged on a bit, but the process certainly seems to have been transparent.

“At this point, all that’s left is for the president to determine this project is in our nation’s interest,” Schild said. “For the next 60 days or so, that’s what the conversation will be about.”

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices drop for fifth consecutive trading session

07/09/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices settled slightly lower on the New York market July 8 for the fifth consecutive trading session, and analysts attri...

Ending crude export ban would help rural US areas, House panel told

07/09/2015 Rural US communities generally have benefited from the nation’s crude oil production renaissance, and potentially could be helped more if restricti...

MOL completes Ithaca Norge acquisition

07/09/2015 MOL Group, Budapest, has completed its acquisition of Ithaca Petroleum Norge from Ithaca Energy Inc. for $60 million plus possible bonuses of up to...

Courts less deferential to regulatory agencies, GMU forum told

07/08/2015 US Supreme Court decisions in the recently completed term suggest that judicial deference to federal regulatory agencies is starting to recede, spe...

AER orders Apache Canada to address integrity of pipeline system

07/08/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator has directed Apache Canada Ltd. to address the integrity of its pipeline management system because of “failure to follow p...

API releases pipeline safety recommended practice

07/08/2015 The American Petroleum Institute released a pipeline safety recommended practice that it developed with engagement from the US Pipeline and Hazardo...

MARKET WATCH: Brent oil prices climb; NYMEX oil price holds below $53/bbl

07/08/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices settled slightly lower on the New York market July 7 to remain under $53/bbl as Brent crude oil prices gained mode...

EIA: US oil output fell 50,000 b/d in May

07/07/2015 Total US crude oil production dropped 50,000 b/d in May compared with April and is expected to continue falling through early 2016 before growth re...

BLM approves ROW for Elko gas pipeline expansion project

07/07/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Tuscarora, Nev., field office signed a decision record approving a right-of-way for Paiute Pipeline Co.’s (PPC) ...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected