Today the State Department announced that it had completed its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. Although the document is not decisional to approve or deny the project, it completes the agency's technical environmental review which found that it did not significantly alter greenhouse gas emissions or the extraction of Canadian oil sands or heavy crude refining in the U.S.

According to an article in the Bismarck Tribune, the North Dakota Department of Health plans to launch a website this week for the public to monitor reported leaks and oil spills. Department officials were quoted saying that the new site will have data on current incidents and information on spills as far back as 1975.

ALBERTA, Canada--The Canadian oil sands are a naturally occurring mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen, which is a very heavy crude. Bitumen is separated from the sand and upgraded to refinery-ready crude oil. A Canadian Consulate-sponsored tour of the area gives an up-close look at the energy supply, as well as a way of life in Alberta.

A new route for the Keystone XL pipeline intended to avoid sensitive portions of the Sandhills region was submitted today to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). According from TransCanada's CEO, Russ Girling, the route was "based on extensive feedback from Nebraskans, and reflects our shared desire to minimize the disturbance of land and sensitive resources in the state." 

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2012

Recent fracking-related legislation in Midwest »

North Dakota's efforts to meet increased infrastructure needs, plan for post-fracking boom »

 

Over the past three years, the hometown of North Dakota Republican Rep. Patrick Hatlestad has doubled in population size.

Today the Army Corps of Engineers granted approval for TransCanada to begin construction on the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that would end at the Gulf of Mexico. Last January, President Obama denied a National Interest Determination permit for the high-profile project that is opposed by many environmental groups because it moves large amounts of oil sands crude that have a more energy intensive extraction process than conventional crude oil. Today's announcement generally aligns with Administration's proposal from last March where they urged TransCanada to reapply for a construction permit by breaking up the project into two portions: a southern leg which needs no additional Presidential permits and a northern leg crossing the international border into the US which does.

On June 20th, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) marks its 35th year of operation. The 800-mile pipeline opened in 1977 after three years of construction when, at that time, it was the single-largest private infrastructure project in the world with an $8 billion price tag.

Yesterday's Christian Science Monitor ran a story that several major cybersecurity attacks on our nation's natural gas pipeline system are underway, based on alerts from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to the story, at least three private alerts were sent by DHS to pipeline companies since March 29, that a wave of attacks have been occurred for months and could impact Canadian pipeline companies as well.

A number of factors make the world of refining complicated and complex. The article supplies basic information on how refineries operate, where they are located, and the general economic, regulatory, and policy challenges facing the industry.
 

The Keystone XL Pipeline was designed to bring Canadian crude oil down to the large U.S. refining markets along the Gulf Coast. The project drew intense political opposition from environmental groups over the development of oil sands, while supporters touted its energy security benefits, including much-needed pipeline capacity.

In January 2012, the Obama administration denied the project’s necessary permit to cross the international border citing arbitrary deadlines set by Congress to force a decision. The company backing Keystone XL now has decided to break up the project in two phases, which will allow domestic construction to proceed while it reapplies for a permit needed to cross the international border.

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