For Immediate Release, February 27, 2012
Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495
Keystone XL Pipeline in Texas Still Lacks Review of Impacts to Wetlands, Imperiled Wildlife
WASHINGTON— The Obama administration today announced support for TransCanada’s plans to build a portion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast in Texas. So far, though, there has been no analysis of how that portion of the pipeline will affect wetlands or imperiled species in the region, including the whooping crane, interior least tern, Arkansas shiner and piping plover.
“Government engineers have already said that Keystone XL will leak oil, so building a pipeline through endangered species habitat will put those species directly in harm’s way,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Building the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast will require permits to disturb or destroy wetlands from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as an in-depth analysis of the project’s potential harm to plants and animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. The Obama administration today vowed to “take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits.”
“This isn’t the time to be cutting corners on protecting our wildlife and environment,” Greenwald said. “The Obama administration should be willing to take a hard look at this project and make sure it follows laws that protect clean water, wetlands and endangered species.”
Obama rejected the 1,700-mile Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year. The project would have dramatically ramped up dependence on fossil fuels that are driving global warming, put rivers and wildlife habitat at increased risk of oil spills and accelerated the destruction of Canada’s boreal forests, where tar sands slated to be used for the pipeline are being extracted.
“The American people have spoken clearly against this project,” said Greenwald. “Segmenting the project and building it in sections does nothing to reduce the tremendous damage that would be caused by this pipeline and further tar sands development.”