The Koch brothers must be thrilled. Late this afternoon, the US State Department released its environmental impact study on the Keystone XL pipeline that, if approved, will carry the dirtiest oil in the world from Canada, across the US heartland to the Gulf Coast where it will be sent to China and other foreign markets.
In the final review, the study concludes that the pipeline would have little environmental impact, and would likely have no significant effect on carbon emissions. This fits the criteria that President Barack Obama has said that he would need to approve the construction.
The State Department, in Friday’s report, essentially concluded that Keystone would have little material effect on greenhouse gas emissions and that Canada would continue to develop and ship tar sands crude with or without the pipeline. [..]
The review included models suggesting that transporting oil by rail would generate even more greenhouse gas emissions than a pipeline, and also discussed measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the pipeline. [..]
The campaign against Keystone XL has become a national movement over the last three years, with environmental activists, Nebraska landowners and hedge fund managers all coming out against the project. In 2012, Obama, under pressure from landowners concerned about underground water sources and sensitive prairie, rejected the first proposed route for the pipeline across Nebraska. [..]
The State Department had conducted two earlier environmental reviews of the project. Last March, it found that if Obama rejected the pipeline Alberta crude would go to market by rail or other pipelines. But it revisited the issue under criticism from the Environmental Protection Agency, which said the early reviews had not been broad enough.
There is one more report to be released on an investigation by the State Department Inspector General of allegations that that a contractor’s review was biased because of connections to TransCanada and the oil industry.
The accusations stem from the release of unredacted documents submitted to the State Department by Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the consultant hired to perform the environmental review. Those documents, released by Mother Jones in May, show that analysts who worked on the Keystone report had previously worked for TransCanada and “other energy companies poised to benefit from Keystone’s construction.” [..]
In July, Friends of the Earth and the Checks and Balances Project, another advocacy group, said they uncovered publicly available documents online that show TransCanada, ERM, and an ERM subsidiary have worked together at least since 2011 on a separate pipeline project in Alaska. Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek posted a 2010 document in which ERM lists TransCanada as a client.
If true, the department would have to conduct another study.
The battle to keep the grease in the ground is not over.
Sign the petition and tell President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to Protect the Earth’s Future and Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.