TransCanada CEO ‘Frustrated’ by Linkage of Keystone Pipeline to Climate Change

Keystone Photo Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

TransCanada Corp. chief executive officer Russ Girling told reporters Sept. 16 he is “frustrated” by critics of the Keystone pipeline who have cast the project as a symbol of increased greenhouse gas emissions and warming.

It's been caught up in this debate it has nothing to do with,” Girling said. “Actual people that are impacted by this project are supportive and willing to move forward with it,” Girling said during a meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.”

Those that are in places on the coasts who want to go to these rallies, who know nothing about the route in South Dakota, Montana, or Nebraska, have piled in with this other issue,” Girling said. “As you can tell, I'm a bit frustrated by that. I don't know how to separate it.”

A final environmental review of the $5.4 billion project, released by the State Department in January, found the pipeline would increase emissions by 1.3 million tons to 27.4 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, though environmentalists have called that figure underestimated.

Study, State Department Differ on Estimates

A study published in August, for instance, said the pipeline would increase emissions by up to 110 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, or about 1.7 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.

This narrative is the exactly the problem we are confronting, this pipeline directly relates to climate change, not just in terms of emissions, but what it does to the communities in the path of the pipeline,” Hoda Baraka, a spokeswoman for the environmental group, said.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based nonprofit is one of the organizers of the “People's Climate March” in New York, which will be held Sept. 21 in advance of the UN Climate Summit in New York City and is expected to draw as many as 100,000 participants. The march will include the Keystone pipeline as “one of the struggles that is being highlighted,” Baraka said in an interview.

The pipeline, which would transport crude from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to an existing segment of pipeline in Steele City, Neb., is pending approval by the State Department because it crosses an international boundary.

The project, which was first proposed in 2008, reaches a six-year milestone of inaction on Sept. 19, with each year costing as much as $150 million in carrying costs, Girling said, after a meeting with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

I've been at this for six years and I have no idea” when President Barack Obama will make a decision on the project, Girling said.




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