For Immediate Release, January 31, 2014
Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351
Obama Administration Pushes Disastrous Keystone XL Closer to Approval
In a Shift, New State Department Review No Longer Attempts to Say Keystone Impacts Would be 'Negligible'
WASHINGTON—The controversial Keystone XL pipeline — a project that will worsen the climate crisis and threaten wildlife and waterways along its route — moved a step closer to approval today with the State Department’s release of a final environmental review.
“Keystone XL is a turning point for President Obama in deciding whether he’s embracing the climate-killing fossil fuels of the past or sane energy sources for the future,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Oil companies may love this pipeline, but it’s a disaster in the making for our climate and for the wildlife in its path.”
Unlike prior reviews of the pipeline, the new State Department review does not attempt to claim that the environmental impacts would be minimal.
“The new review represents an important shift from prior analyses because it no longer tries to claim that Keystone’s impacts will be negligible,” Snape said. “But even so, the environmental consequences are clear as day: oil spills, polluted rivers, and wildlife directly in harm’s way.”
Last June President Obama warned of the dangers of climate change and said Keystone would only be in the national interest if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Experts have already determined that Keystone XL will vastly increase tar sands development in Alberta, Canada. Acclaimed climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has said Keystone would be “game over” for avoiding catastrophic climate change.
“Keystone XL will transport close to a million barrels of highly toxic tar sands oil through America’s heartland each and every day for 50 years or more — only to have much of it refined and exported,” said Snape. “Along the way it will crush some of the last habitat for endangered species like the swift fox and whooping crane. It’ll pollute water used by millions of people and emit as many greenhouse gases as 51 coal-fired power plants.”
Last year the Center released a report on the risks posed to endangered species by Keystone XL. The Center also released a video highlighting the dangers of oil pipelines — a key point given the State Department’s estimate that the 1,700 Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline will spill at least 100 times during its lifetime.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.