This posted yesterday at The New York Times: permits have been issued to construct an oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to northern Wisconsin, bringing crude oil from the Alberta tar sands. The Alberta Clipper pipeline will run through Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin to Hardisty, Alberta.
The State Department issued a permit for the construction of a new pipeline to bring crude oil from Western Canada to the United States. The pipeline, to be built by Enbridge Energy Partners, will run from tar sands in Northern Alberta to Wisconsin. Extraction of oil from the sands is done through open pit mining and has stirred controversy because it is energy and water intensive. Sarah Burt, a lawyer for Earthjustice, said that environmental groups had hoped the Obama administration would block the pipeline . “This basically commits us to 50 more years of one of the most greenhouse gas intensive fuels around,” Ms. Burt said. She said that Earthjustice would seek an injunction to block the pipeline. But Denise Hamsher, a spokesperson for Embridge, said that construction would begin right away along portions of the pipeline.
Other than Burt’s pretty accurate assessment that this puts another nail in the coffin of U.S. oil dependency, and that oil extraction uses a lot of fuel and dirties a lot of water, the construction of the pipe itself will probably wreak havoc on the ecosystems it passes through.