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Friday, October 28, 2016

The State Department’s analysis of the Keystone XL Pipeline greatly underestimates its potential environmental harm, according to a report by Carbon Tracking Initiative.

In January, the State Department released its final environmental impact statement on the controversial pipeline. Notably, the statement insisted that construction of the pipeline “remains 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.”

The Carbon Tracking Initiative report, however, directly refutes this claim.

According to the study, the State Department did not clearly show how the pipeline will provide a pathway for development of the Canadian tar sands. For Carbon Tracking, this amounts to a “significance trap.”

“In my view, ‘significance’ is in the eye of the beholder,” Mark Fulton, co-author of the report, told the Huffington Post. In Fulton’s eye, the pipeline is very significant because it would allow a “significant amount of production” in the Canadian tar sands.

What the combination of the XL Pipeline and development of the tar sands will beget, according to Carbon Tracking, is oil companies with the ability to produce 525,000 more barrels of oil per day. The pipeline provides a pathway for increased oil production because it would cut transportation costs to and from the oil sands. Without the pipeline, oil companies would have to transport oil from the sands via rail. The oil companies, in turn, would have to price the oil at a rate that makes rail transportation effective.

The XL Pipeline negates all of this.

Because the pipeline would lower transportation costs, Carbon Tracking estimates companies could produce 525,000 more barrels of oil per day.

The fate of the XL Pipeline lies with President Obama, who has to make a decision about its construction before his second term ends. Referring to the goal of keeping the world temperature rise under 2 degrees, Carbon Tracking notes: “The U.S. president has to decide if just one single pipeline that could use up 0.5 percent of the total remaining 2°C global carbon budget is indeed significant.”

Photo: shannonpatrick17 via Flickr

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  • Sand_Cat

    Face it: the damned thing is going to be built, because corporate and individual greed almost always get what they want, and even if they don’t, they manage to do plenty of damage along the road to (temporary) failure.

    • Bud Thibodaux

      You are so out of touch.

      • Sand_Cat

        At least I’m not “touched” with stupidity and delusion as you are.

  • Dominick Vila

    The greatest irony is that a pipeline rejected by the Canadian people because of environmental concerns, is probably going to be built across the USA to facilitate the export of highly corrosive shale oil to China via U.S. ports in the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t too long ago when we read articles about Third World countries accepting our garbage, with total disregard for the damage such action represented, because they are so desperate that they are willing to sacrifice their patrimony in exchange for a few dollars. Guess who is now begging for crumbs, and willing to sacrifice our environment?
    It is also important to note that after the pipeline is built, only a few hundred people will be employed to maintain it. The main beneficiaries of this endeavor are the Koch brothers, not American workers and, certainly, not our environment.

    • Bud Thibodaux

      You are so out of touch. Ever hear of George Sorus? He put Obama in office. We need the pipe line.

      • Dominick Vila

        George Soros is a pauper compared to the Koch brothers. Luckily, for Democrats, people like you are so in tune with the FOX propaganda that you don’t see the reality of your circumstances. The GOP enjoys the full support of Southerners and folks in the Bible Belt. Democrats have the support of mainstream America. What this augurs is that Dems will control the White House for decades to come, and the GOP is likely to control at least one chamber of Congress for many decades to come.
        We don’t need a pipeline to transport Canadian sand tar oil to the Gulf for export to China, the Koch brothers do and people like you are willing to sacrifice our environment to give your owners whatever they want.