Oil companies pumped to find another way as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines stall

On a cold, blustery Sunday in February, tens of thousands of people descended on Washington’s National Mall to protest the proposed TransCanada Corp.’s $5.3-billion Keystone XL oil pipeline. They chanted, waved placards and called on U.S. President Barack Obama to kill the project, which, if completed, would pump up to 830,000 barrels a day from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Referring to the energy-intensive processes needed to extract gooey oil-sands bitumen, activist and organizer Bill McKibben claimed that approving the 1,200-km pipeline would be tantamount to lighting a massive “carbon bomb.”

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