State Department: Keystone XL Doesn’t Pose Substantial Environmental Impact


On Friday, the State Department issued a draft environmental impact statement on Keystone XL, the controversial oil pipeline proposed by TransCanada, which finds that the project would not have a significant impact on the environment:

The State Department issued a revised environmental impact statement for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline on Friday that makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be.
[I]t says that alternate means of transporting the oil — rail, truck and barge — also have significant environmental and economic impacts, including higher costs, noise, traffic, air pollution and the possibility of spills. The study does not say that one method is better for the environment than another. It does say that a spill is more likely for rail transport, although the report says that the volume of oil spilled from a pipeline is likely to be greater.

Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, said the report was careful not to pre-empt policy decisions that Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will make on the pipeline. She said the report was designed to analyze technical issues and serve as the basis for public debate.

The isn’t the first time the State Department has noted the limited environmental impact of Keystone. In August 2011, the State Department released an impact statment that reaffirmed the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.” Despite this, President Obama shot down Keystone XL down and lobbied to kill Republican attempts to revive it in Congress to appease his radical environmentalist base.

According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, Keystone XL could create up to 179,000 jobs by 2035. Even the State Department acknowledged the job creation prospects of the pipeline. “Construction of the proposed Project would generate  temporary, positive socioeconomic impacts as a result of local employment, taxes, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services,” the report stated.

“Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2- year construction period (of which, approximately 3,900 would be directly employed in construction activities). This employment would potentially translate to approximately $2.05 billion in earnings.”

Support for Keystone is growing. A bipartisan group of Senators recently sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Obama Administration to finally get behind project. However, radical environmentalists are angry over the State Department’s report on the Keystone XL and are going to pushing hard to kill it. While this may be a key part of his base, President Obama cannot deny the positive economic benefits of the project and the new routing of the pipeline should easy any concerns he had before. The justification for killing Keystone again just doesn’t exist.

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