Keystone XL pipeline gets boost from environmental review
By Kent Hoover
Washington Bureau Chief
Work on the Southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline already has been completed.
The Keystone XL pipeline may be a step closer to approval now that the State Department has concluded the project would have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
The pipeline, which has been under review by the Obama administration for five years, would bring crude oil from Canada's tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. With or without the pipeline, oil will be produced from those tar sands, the State Department's environmental impact study concluded.
"Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, 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 report stated.
The State Department will consider whether the pipeline is in the national interest before making a final decision on whether to grant a permit for the project.
Environmentalists contend the pipeline should be rejected because it would significantly increase carbon emissions and make climate change worse.
The oil industry and other business groups are pleased that the State Department has concluded otherwise.
"This final review puts to rest any credible concerns about the pipeline's potential negative impact on the environment," said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. "This long-awaited project should now be swiftly approved. It's time to put thousands of Americans to work."
The National Association of Manufacturers agrees.
If President Barack Obama is serious about his State of the Union pledge to cut red tape that's slowing infrastructure projects, he'll approve the Keystone XL pipeline "as soon as possible," said NAM President Jay Timmons.
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