Signs of defeat as TransCanada asks ‘for extra time’ over Keystone XL

Keystone XL

Creative Commons: Elvert Barnes, 2011

TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, is banking on a Republican president following President Obama, announcing Monday that it wants the Obama administration to suspend its permit request for the pipeline until after the next election.

Delaying the approval in the hope of a more fossil-friendly President is a desperate play for the destructive project – which would connect the Alberta tar sands to overseas oil markets via ports in Texas.

The move has been hailed as “one of the great victories for this movement in decades” by 350.org’s Bill McKibben. He said:

Clearly TransCanada has lost and they recognize that. It’s one of the great victories for this movement in decades. In defeat, TransCanada is asking for extra time from the referees, and clearly hoping they’ll get a new head official after the election. It’s time for the current umpire, President Obama, to reject this project once and for all, and go to Paris as the first world leader to stop a major project because of its effect on the climate.

Construction of the controversial pipeline became less and less likely this year following the Obama administration’s veto of a bill that demanded the president approve the project.

Meanwhile with evidence showing the pipeline would produce just 35 permanent jobs in the US while putting a large swath of the country at risk of a catastrophic oil spill and that over reliance on the volatile tar sands market fueled an economic recession in Canada, any dubious economic claims for pushing the project through have proven to be false.

In Canada, projects connected to the tar sands lost political momentum first when Alberta voted out their provincial conservative government after 44 years of rule, and again when Canada elected Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister to replace climate laggard Stephen Harper.

Director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Anthony Swift said:

Pause or no pause, we now know more than enough to do the right thing — reject the pipeline because it would worsen climate change. Altering its route through Nebraska isn’t going to change that. Keystone XL isn’t in the national interest and the president should reject it.

The latest push by TransCanada signals that people power can trump special interests as the world continues to transition away from dirty energy and towards renewable solutions.

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