EPA: Keystone XL would have a ‘significant’ impact on climate

The Tree | —

Intro

The arguments for rejecting the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline just got stronger: this time its about carbon emissions. On last Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged the State Department to revisit its environmental impact analysis of the pipeline, saying that developing Canada’s tar sands “represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.” In its letter, EPA pointed out that due to the massive carbon footprint of tar sands oil, the $8 billion project would unleash up to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon pollution more than transporting and burning the same amount of conventional oil. If built, the pipeline would deliver dirty Canadian crude to Gulf Coast refineries that would develop and export it, providing scant benefits to Americans while exposing the entire length of the country to a devastating oil spill and speeding up climate change. EPA’s climate-focused analysis supports a presidential veto of a bill forcing the pipeline’s construction that is expected to be finalized by Congress next week.

Key Points

  • Low oil prices are poking holes in the already shaky economic arguments for building Keystone. Plummeting oil prices have rendered rail shipments of Canadian crude too costly to be profitable. This means oil companies will only develop the tar sands if they can build Keystone XL. If oil prices stay low, approving the pipeline would enable millions of gallons of this dirty oil to flow, producing massive amounts of planet-warming carbon pollution. On the flip side, blocking Keystone would keep tar sands oil in the ground, helping to stabilizing the climate and safeguarding land and water resources along the proposed route.
  • The new EPA comments show that Keystone fails President Obama’s climate test. In a comment to the State Department, EPA rejected the conclusion that the pipeline wouldn’t contribute climate change, pointing to low oil prices that would spur development of Canada’s tar sands and spike greenhouse gas emissions. According to EPA, the tar sands oil transported through the pipeline would produce up to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon more than traditional oil each year, an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of 5.7 million cars or eight dirty coal-fired power plants. Based on its impacts to the climate, President Obama has all the justification he needs to reject Keystone XL once and for all.
  • A Keystone veto would bolster Obama’s credibility in leading the world towards a global climate deal. President Obama has said that he would only approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it did not worsen the problem of carbon emissions. After striking a historic climate deal with China on the international stage and working to cut carbon pollution from power plants at home, vetoing Keystone because of climate concerns would bolster the America’s reputation on climate at a time when leadership is in demand.

 

Tweet

RT @philaroneanu: .@EPA weighs in, reinforcing that #KeystoneXL would increase carbon emissions significantly. http://350.org/press-release/bill-mckibben-responds-to-epa-comments-on-keystone-xl/

Actions

Send a message: Tell President Obama to veto and reject Keystone XL (Oil Change International)

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

WotchitGeneralNews: “EPA: Keystone Pipeline would Emit a Billion Extra Tons of Greenhouse Gases”