(US) Permit for Alberta Clipper Pipeline Issued
Office of the Spokesman
By Executive Order, the State Department has been delegated authority from the president to receive applications for the construction, connection, operation and maintenance of facilities at the borders of the United States, including petroleum pipelines, and to issue or deny Presidential Permits for such facilities upon a National Interest Determination. A Presidential Permit application triggers an environmental review of the proposed project, under applicable environmental laws and regulations.
After considerable review and evaluation, on August 20, 2009, the Department issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the Alberta Clipper pipeline. In evaluating the Enbridge application, the Department worked in consultation with all relevant agencies and parties and with extensive public and stakeholder participation and outreach.
The Department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the United States’ worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions; shortening the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies; and increasing crude oil supplies from a major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer. Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.
Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.
The National Interest Determination took many factors into account, including greenhouse gas emissions. The administration believes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are best addressed through each country’s robust domestic policies and a strong international agreement.
The United States will continue to reduce reliance on oil through conservation and energy efficiency measures, such as the recently increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, as well as through the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation and an ambitious global agreement on climate change to include substantial emission reductions for both the United States and Canada.
The State Department will continue to work to ensure that both the United States and Canada take ambitious action to address climate change, and will cooperate with the Canadian government through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional information can be obtained at http://albertaclipper.state.gov
U.S. approves Alberta Clipper pipeline projectReuters
Globe and Mail
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009
Calgary — The United States approved Enbridge Inc. (ENB-T40.940.010.02%) 's $3.3-billion Alberta Clipper pipeline project Thursday, granting the project, which will deliver Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, a presidential permit, and raising the ire of some environmental groups.
The U.S. State Department said that allowing construction of the 450,000 barrel per day line serves U.S. interests by adding secure oil supplies from outside the OPEC nations at a time when political tensions in some producing regions threaten to interfere with oil shipments.
“The department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States,” it said in a statement.
The department also said construction of the line would create jobs for U.S. workers in what it called a difficult economic period.
Enbridge, which hopes to have the 1,600-kilometre line up and running by mid-2010, said it expects to begin construction soon, creating more than 3,000 U.S. jobs.
“We're pleased we've reached this latest milestone and are in the process of mobilizing well over 3,000 workers and will begin construction within hours or days,” said Denise Hamsher, a spokeswoman for Enbridge.
Most of the oil shipped on the line will come from Canadian oil sands producers, which have been under attack from some U.S. environmental groups and legislators for boosting greenhouse gas emissions because of expanding production in the oil sands – a Florida-sized region of northern Alberta that contains the largest oil reserves outside the Middle East.
The State Department said it took greenhouse gas emissions into account when deciding to issue the permit, saying that the issue is best addressed through the domestic policies of the United States and Canada and through international agreements.
However, some environmental groups said the State Department should have shown greater concern about rising greenhouse gas output, the impact of oil sands production on northern Alberta's boreal forest, and the impact of boosting imports of a fuel that they consider to be more polluting than conventionally produced oil.
“It means large amounts of more air pollution, large amounts of water pollution and extra (greenhouse gases) because more energy is required to convert this (heavy oil) into a refined, usable petroleum product,” said Sarah Burt, a lawyer at Earthjustice. “None of that was taken into account ... in determination of whether or not this would be in the national interest. That is problematic.”
Ms. Burt said Earthjustice, a non-profit law firm, planned to file suit next week in court in the Northern District of California asking that the State Department look at the cumulative environmental impact of building new pipelines from the oil sands. It will also seek a motion to keep Enbridge from starting construction while the case is heard.
Alberta Clipper pipeline approved for U.S. midwestLisa Schmidt
August 21, 2009
CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. is plowing ahead with construction work on the U.S. portion of its Alberta Clipper pipeline after receiving U.S.
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it has granted a permit to the Calgary-based pipeline company to build the U.S. portion of the line.
When the $3.7-billion pipeline is completed in about a year, it will ship 450,000 barrels of bitumen a day to Superior, Wis., with the potential to reach 800,000 barrels a day.
Construction work will begin immediately on the U.S. leg, expected to cost about $1.2 billion.
The Canadian segment of the Enbridge pipeline starts at Hardisty, Alta. — about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton — and goes through Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the U. S. border. It has been under construction since last summer.
"We're just really pleased we've reached this milestone, and we're in the process of mobilizing 3,000 construction workers," said Denise Hampsher, a Houston-based spokeswoman with Enbridge.
The pipeline has raised concerns on both sides of the border. Alberta critics raised concerns the line will potentially drain investment and upgrading jobs to the U.S., while American environmental groups argue the pipeline will bring greenhouse-gas intensive oilsands crude from Canada.
In a statement, the State Department said the approval sends a positive signal for both the economy and security of energy supply.
"The department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests," the statement said.
It also added that the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions are "best addressed through each country's robust domestic policies and a strong international agreement."
But a group of U.S. environmental and native groups said they will challenge the approval in court, arguing the pipeline is not in that country's national interest because it would ultimately increase greenhouse-gas emissions.
"At a time when concern is growing about the national security threat posed by global warming, it doesn't make sense to open our gates to one of the dirtiest fuels on earth," Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope said in a statement.
"This pipeline will lock America into a dirty-energy infrastructure for years to come."
Canadian oilsands production is expected to climb by one million barrels a day to 2.2 million by 2015, even after a spate of project deferrals and cancellations over the past year as the recession took hold.
Enbridge already moves about two million barrels a day of conventional and unconventional crude on its pipelines to the U.S. Midwest and southern Ontario.
Enbridge shares fell 39 cents to $40.93 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.