Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It's time to approve Keystone pipeline

  • Print

U.S. President Barack Obama's push to put a new emphasis on curbing greenhouse gas emissions had the feel of wishful thinking. He knows that Congress has little interest in the effort, so he plans to focus on what he can do by Environmental Protection Agency rule-making. The exercise of such regulatory power tends to be a slow grind through government bureaucracy, though, and he may not be able to get much of his agenda accomplished before his term ends.

One bit of his speech last week, though, held out the prospect of imminent impact. The president said he would allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline to be built "only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."

That set off lots of speculation: Is Obama signalling thumbs up or thumbs down?

We're going to be optimistic and take it as a sign that he may soon approve the pipeline.

The State Department, which is charged with evaluating the Keystone project because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border, has already made an early determination on the pollution impact. The agency said in a draft review released in March that Keystone would "not likely result in significant adverse environmental effects." In May, the department posted the first of more a million public comments responding to its report. It continues to review the application and reportedly will wrap up in time for an announcement in the fall.

The 2,000-page draft report shows, convincingly, that the president's condition has been satisfied. The case is ready to be closed. Let's start putting people to work laying pipe.

On the day Obama announced his climate policy, a report produced by order of Congress debunked one of the complaints about Keystone. Oil from the Canada tarsands that would be carried in the Keystone pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico is no more likely than other crude oil to cause pipeline failure. That report, from the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, was compiled and reviewed by dozens of the nation's most credible scientists.

Last year, Obama stalled a final decision on Keystone. The president needlessly damaged relations with key trading partner Canada and missed the opportunity to put people to work.

In the meantime, the developers have worked to answer concerns about the project. Keystone opponents claimed the pipeline would leak into groundwater, compromising the giant Ogallala Aquifer. The fears were unfounded, but the developers rerouted the pipeline footprint around the aquifer.

Pipelines generally are a safer way to transport fuel than the trains and tanker trucks used instead. Pipelines already criss-cross the Midwest. Keystone would be one of the most secure -- with state-of-the-art safeguards that have been upgraded to the point of overkill as the company seeks to put fears to rest.

The Canadian tarsands will be tapped with or without Keystone, and they will contribute less to carbon pollution than many other common energy sources.

The Keystone pipeline will be a boost for the U.S. economy. Time to approve it.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2013 A11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Winnipeg Free Press 27 cent digital payment system

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......

View More Gallery Photos


Are you in favour of relocating Winnipeg's rail yards and lines?

View Results

Ads by Google