The Tense Trail Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

We’ll follow the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada’s Tar Sands country through the heart of America and hear the furious debate over its fate.

View this gallery on Flickr

After five years of debate, the US State Department is out with its long-awaited report on the environmental impact of a Keystone XL pipeline – if and when it’s ever built.  Tar sands.  Down from Canada.  The report’s bottom line is not what livid environmental protestors wanted to hear.  Yes, it’s dirty, it says.  Bad.  But one way or another – this pipe or that pipe or train – it’s likely coming.  Environmentalists say that’s “game over” for the climate.  They’re fighting all the way. Writer Tony Horwitz is on the scene.  This hour On Point:  on the embattled would-be trail of the Keystone XL.

— Tom Ashbrook


Coral Davenport, energy and environment correspondent for the New York Times. (@CoralMDavenport)

Tony Horwitz,  author and journalist. Author of the new book “BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush That Could Change America Forever.” Also author of “Confederates in the Attic,” “Blue Latitudes,” “Baghdad Without a Map,” “A Voyage Long and Strange” and “Midnight Rising.” (@tonyhorwitz)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Report May Ease Way to Approval of Keystone Pipeline — “The long-awaited environmental impact statement on the project concludes that approval or denial of the pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, is unlikely to prompt oil companies to change the rate of their extraction of carbon-heavy tar sands oil, a State Department official said. Either way, the tar sands oil, which produces significantly more planet-warming carbon pollution than standard methods of drilling, is coming out of the ground, the report says.”

U.S. State Department: Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement — “There is existing demand for crude oil—particularly heavy crude oil—at refiners in the Gulf Coast area, but  the ultimate disposition of crude oil that would be  transported by the proposed Project, as well as any  refined products produced from that crude oil, would also be determined by market demand and applicable law.”

The Walrus: Big Mac — “Until recently, Alberta has been slow to release Crown land to the municipality, mostly because it sits on vast reserves of bitumen. Work is finally set to begin on two new suburban developments, each on the scale of Eagle Ridge, which will provide housing for at least 50,000 people. By 2030, Fort McMurray could be a city of almost a quarter million.”

Key Facts And Figures From The Latest State Department EIS

Read An Excerpt From Tony Horwitz’s “BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush That Could Change America Forever”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »