U.S. State Department report says tar sands pipeline won’t cause serious environmental damage
In a report released today, the U.S. State Dept. says that TransCanada’s plan to move tar sands oil across the U.S. by pipeline will not cause significant environmental problems.
The Associated Press reports:
A new environmental study of the proposed $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline shows no new issues since a similar report was issued last year.
The report issued Friday is the third on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil extracted from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas. The pipeline would travel through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The State Department report removes a major roadblock to construction of the pipeline, but does not grant final approval. The department has authority over the project because it crosses an international boundary.
Environmental groups wanted the State Dept. to study the potential for leaks and whether the route of the pipeline could be changed to avoid crossing the Ogallala aquifer.
“We haven’t seen the analysis, but we are in regular contact with the State Department so we know what studies have been completed and we know they haven’t done the studies we’ve asked for,” Danielle Droitsch, a senior adviser at the National Resources Defense Council, told the Winnipeg Free Press on Thursday.
The State Dept. action was expected by the pipeline opponents that have gathered near the White House for a two week long run of sit-ins to protest the planned pipeline. So far 322 people have been arrested.
“After two failed rounds of environmental review, this looks like strike three for the State Department. The document still fails to address the key concerns for landowners and wildlife,” National Wildlife Federation senior vice president Jim Lyon said in a statement. ”It is almost certain to be scrutinized in other venues, including a probable legal challenge. This only escalates the controversy in a process that is far from over.”
In an interview with the New York Times climate scientist and pipeline opponent James Hansen compared the U.S. and Canada to out of control drug addicts.
“If Obama chooses the dirty needle [pipeline] it will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction,” Hansen said.