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Oil Sands

April 4, 2013 | By James Hansen
In March, the State Department gave the president cover to open a big spigot that will hitch our country to one of the dirtiest fuels on Earth for 40 years or more. The draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline acknowledges tar sands are nasty stuff for the environment, but concludes that the project is OK because this oil will get to market anyway - with or without a pipeline. A public comment period is underway through April 22, after which the department will prepare a final statement to help the administration decide whether the pipeline is in the "national interest.
August 26, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
The State Department has concluded that the highly controversial proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline would not have “significant impacts” on the environment, removing a major barrier to the construction of a $7-billion project that would ship oil sands crude oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The State Department's findings, part of the final environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, were hailed by the oil industry and sharply criticized by environmentalists. Though other pipelines from Canada have sailed through the government approval process with little reaction from industry or environmentalists, Keystone XL has become a fraught issue in Washington and the Midwest, and it threatens to become a significant political liability for President Obama, whatever the outcome.  The final environmental impact statement is not the last word on the project.
November 10, 2011 | By Paul Richter and James Oliphant
The State Department said Thursday that it will delay consideration of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to study alternative routes, addressing what it termed were environmental concerns about a posssible path through Nebraska's Sand Hills region. The extended review will push the approval process to early 2013 - past next year's presidential election. President Obama quickly issued a statement in support of the decision. “Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said.
November 6, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The Obama administration is considering a move that could delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by requiring sponsors to reduce the project's environmental risks before it can be approved, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations. The step might put off a decision until after the 2012 election and be a way for the White House to at least temporarily avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it as President Obama gears up for his campaign.
December 27, 2011 | By Dean Kuipers
The tar sand mines in Alberta, source of the oil that may one day flow all the way from Canada to Texas through the Keystone XL Pipeline, are growing by enormous leaps and bounds. This superb series of satellite pictures , brought to you by National Geographic , tells the whole story. When the first mine opened alongside the pristine Athabasca River in 1967, oil extracted from oil sands (also known as tar sands) was too expensive to compete with liquid crude. But now, with oil prices hovering at about $100 US per barrel, the costly and environmentally taxing process of pulling bitumen out of the clay mixture makes it economically feasible.
August 27, 2011 | Neela Banerjee
The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast would not have "significant impacts" on the environment, the State Department has concluded, removing a major barrier to construction of the $7-billion project. The 1,700-mile-long pipeline has been a contentious issue in part because the oil would be extracted from oil sands in Alberta. Oil sands are an unconventional source of crude oil that needs to be mined from the earth, which environmentalists say would lead to the pollution of waterways and the destruction of vast stretches of Alberta's forests.
February 9, 2014
Re "The future of Keystone XL," Editorial, Feb. 2 TransCanada hasn't had a spill from our actual oil pipelines. The first Keystone pipeline has safely delivered more than 550 million barrels of oil to U.S. refineries. In 2011 we replaced some fittings at all of our pump stations after some releases occurred; there hasn't been an issue since. Most spills were just a few gallons, and most of the oil remained on our property and was cleaned up without an environmental impact The State Department's latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions - and we have.
December 23, 2008 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
If you're a documentarian, you know that while it's a great honor to make the academy's shortlist for best documentary short, it's almost impossible to get anyone in the media to write about your movie, since they're almost totally obsessed with handicapping the ups and downs of the various actor and best picture races. But thanks to the Canadian government, in particular Alberta's minister of culture, Leslie Iwerks' documentary short "Downstream" has a shot at a little notoriety, which is just what a doc-short needs to steal a little attention from the endless speculation about Kate Winslet's Oscar chances.
November 25, 2005 | Chris Kraul and Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writers
Three years after President Hugo Chavez purged 20,000 employees from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, the oil giant's production still hasn't recovered, but many who became part of a global diaspora of Venezuelan talent slowly are putting their lives and careers back together. Take oil engineer Lino Carrillo, who was general manager of new business development at Petroleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, when Chavez sacked half of the energy giant's employees.
May 30, 2004 | James Flanigan
With sky-high gasoline prices burning into family budgets, the oil-using world listened anxiously last week for words of deliverance from the Saudi Arabian oil minister, Ali Ibrahim Naimi. Folks would have been wiser to listen to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. For as significant as Saudi production is -- and as helpful as Naimi's pledge to increase petroleum output by 11% to 9 million barrels a day should be -- it is Russia that will lift the globe out of its current energy funk.
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