Saturday, February 01, 2014

State Department Finally Finalizes Final Keystone XL Pipeline EIS

The State Department issued the  Keystone XL Pipeline Final Environmental Impact Statement on Friday and ruled (again) that the project would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. 

The finding puts the pipeline one step closer to approval.  Of course, the pipeline has already been operating for years and the Obama administration already approved the southern leg, which is almost finished.

The Environmental Impact Statement reiterates key parts of a draft analysis released early last year, finding that oil sands extraction would continue regardless of whether the pipeline is built.  According to the report:
"Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios."

President Obama has said he would only approve the pipeline if he was convinced it would not "significantly exacerbate carbon emissions."  The report states Keystone XL would transport 830,000 barrels of oil each day, adding an extra 1.3 million to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.

While the report doesn't make the claim that Keystone would drastically "exacerbate emissions," it does state the crude oil will make it to market either way -- as a result Obama will have to determine if that oil will be burned even if he denies the project.

Before the decision reaches Obama's desk, there will be an interagency review, lasting roughly 90 days, where administration officials will determine whether Keystone XL is in the nation's best interest.  (The Hill, 1/31/2014)

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