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WIN! Decision on Keystone XL pipeline delayed until 2013

CBC reports, “The US State Department will order another environmental assessment for the Keystone XL pipeline route, allowing US President Barack Obama to shelve the controversial issue until after the (November) 2012 elections… (The State Department) will consider a proposal to reroute the 3,000-kilometre pipeline away from an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska (over the Ogallala aquifer). …The new route will require another environmental assessment of the impact on new affected areas (that) could take as long as 18 months… (That) would delay the ultimate decision until sometime in early 2013 (perhaps April 2013 or later).”

This afternoon, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated, “Today’s decision by the Obama administration is a step in the right direction. A powerful movement has succeeded in demonstrating widespread opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the expansion of the tar sands. The Council of Canadians and many others are committed to ongoing vigilance to make sure this project does not proceed in any form at any time. We want to see a just transition to a sustainable energy future for North America and we hope that this decision brings us one big step closer to that future. The Council is proud to have been part of the massive ‘Surround the White House’ action this past weekend in Washington, DC.”

Notably, the CBC news report highlights, “Last week, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling warned that any delay could cause oil companies to back out of commitments to use the pipeline.” And just this morning, the Globe and Mail reported, “Observers argue all of these pipelines (Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain) are needed to keep up with Canada’s forecast production growth in the oil sands. Blocking one or more means bitumen production will have to slow because existing pipelines will be full by 2015.”

So did we just win? Bill McKibben writes, “We won. You won. (But) not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. …(But) most analysts are saying (the review) will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster. And he has made clear that the environmental assessment won’t be carried out by cronies of the pipeline company–that it will be an expert and independent assessment.”

McKibben highlights, “There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day.”

More soon.