State Department Says Keystone XL Will Have Little Environmental Impact - Campaigners Disagree

keystone xl pipeline protest at white house photo

photo: Ben Powless for Tar Sands Action/CC BY

As protesters continue their civil disobedience outside the White House (pictured above), and getting arrested by the score each day, the State Department has taken a further step towards approving the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, issuing its final environmental impact report.

Given previous support for the project it's not surprising that State Department has found the proposed pipeline will cause minimal environmental impact and advises moving forward with it (Politico). But the nation's environmental organizations are immediately raising serious questions about the report.

NRDC's Susan Casey-Lefkowitz said it a press statement,

It is utterly beyond me how the administration can claim the pipeline will have 'no significant impacts' if they haven't bothered to do in-depth studies around the issues of contention. The public has made their concerns clear and the administration seems to have ignored them. If permitted, the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be a dirty legacy that will haunt President Obama and Secretary Clinton for years to come.

Pipeline Approval Would Confirm Obama "Greenwashing" on Climate
Famed and outspoken NASA climatologist James Hansen goes even a step further, saying that if the Obama administration approves Keystone XL it will call the President's entire climate policy into question.

Hansen told the New York Times if Keystone XL is approved,

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.

Conversely, if Obama doesn't approved the 1,700 mile pipeline it will show that he's not a "hopeless addict", hooked on oil.

What Wasn't Asked By State Department
As for the questions that were not asked by the State Department, the Sierra Club says the report does address:

  • Threats to the Ogallala Aquifer and the the Sandhills of South Dakota.
  • The effects of toxic pollution from corrosive tar sands refineries on the residents of Houston and other communities.
  • "The fact that there are no existing federal safeguards in place for the safe transport of tar sands crude of the dirtiest and most dangerous forms of oil on Earth.

More on Keystone XL Pipeline
Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Jobs Benefits Exaggerated
Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Could Have 91 Serious Spills in 50 Years

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