Environment: Death knell for Keystone XL pipeline?

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The future of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline is doubt, as Transcanada seeks a delay of U.S. State Department review.

Grassroots resistance pays off; fossil fuel economics also a factor

Staff Report

Climate activists say this week’s request by TransCanada for a time-out of the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline review process is a clear sign that the political tide has shifted against the expansion of fossil fuels.

Transcanada cited uncertainty over the pipeline route through Nebraska as a key reason for its request, but pipeline critics say the company is simply stalling, hoping to delay a final decision until after the November 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“TransCanada’s request for suspension is like calling for a timeout when you’ve already lost the game,” said Kendall Mackey, Tar Sands campaign manager with the Energy Action Coalition, part of a massive organized campaign against the pipeline.

Activists said President Obama is not obligated to grant the request for a delay in the review process and hope the president will kill the project once and for all to end the uncertainty — especially for the communities along the proposed route.

“TransCanada sees the writing on the wall, and is trying to run out the clock in hopes that the next president will not weigh climate science in his or her decision about the dirty Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Time is up. President Obama has all the evidence he needs to reject Keystone XL now, and we are confident that he will.”

While environmental activists sought to take all the credit for the latest move in the pipeline chess game, the simple economics of fossil fuels are a significant factor in the decision, as with Shell’s recent move to back away from oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

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