PLEDGE NOW
Drawing A Line In The Tar Sands

We’re debating the thousand mile pipeline that would cut across the U.S., from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The “Keystone XL” pipeline.

Activists protest a proposed pipeline to bring tar sands oil to the U.S. from Canada, gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (AP)

Activists protest a proposed pipeline to bring tar sands oil to the U.S. from Canada, gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (AP)

The tar sands of western Canada make some of the dirtiest oil production in the world. But at a time when everybody wants energy, hungry eyes are on Canada’s heavy tar sands oil.

A huge new proposed pipeline, the Keystone XL, would send that tar sands oil 1,700 miles south, from Canada into the United States, across the Great Plains and six American states to Houston and the Gulf of Mexico.

Supporters say it would be an energy and jobs bonanza. Opponents say it would mean “game over” for the global climate. A disaster.

This hour On Point: debating the Keystone XL pipeline.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Levi, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change.

Alex Pourbaix, President of Energy & Oil Pipelines for TransCanada, the Canadian energy company that plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Randy Thompson, a rancher from Nebraska who is opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. He’s become a local hero of sorts among those opposed to the Trans Canada pipeline.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director International Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

From Tom’s Reading List

(U.S. State Department)

(U.S. State Department)

The Atlantic “Despite the fact that Obama isn’t even in the White House — he’s on vacation — the demonstrators have been wildly successful in provoking public attention: the Tar Sands Action has been Google’s number one trend for the past four days, and has garnered celebrity support from actors Mark Ruffalo and Sophia Bush, along with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.”

The New Yorker “The tar sands begin near the border of Saskatchewan, around the latitude of Edmonton, and extend, in three major deposits, north and west almost to British Columbia. All in all, they cover—or, more accurately, underlie—some fifty-seven thousand square miles, an area roughly the size of Florida. It is believed that they were pushed into their present location seventy million years ago by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains.”

The Wall Street Journal “While Canadian regulators are tightening environmental oversight of oil-sands production in Alberta, American environmentalists and some U.S. mayors are campaigning against what they see as another potential threat from Canadian oil: pipeline corrosion.”

More

You can find the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project here.

Randy Thompson on Keystone XL

Martell, NE
View Martell, NE in a larger map

Video of Washington, D.C. pipeline protest

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #5: Ted Cruz — The Advocate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an impassioned advocate, Jack Beatty writes — but mostly for himself above all others.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment