Energy - Oil
State Dept. Announces
Reevaluation of Keystone XL Tar Sand Pipeline
Washington, D.C. - The State Department announced November 10 that it is reevaluating the environmental review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. The reevaluation will include consideration of rerouting the pipeline to avoid sensitive ecological areas in Nebraska. An alternative route would require a new environmental impact statement and would delay a final decision on the tar sands pipeline for as long as 18 months.
The U.S. Department of State issued the following news release:
Order 13337 authorizes the Department of State to lead the review of
Presidential Permit applications for transborder pipelines, granting the
Department discretion in determining what factors to examine to inform a
determination of whether the proposed project is in the national
interest. Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent,
thorough and rigorous review of TransCanada’s application for the
proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process,
particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the
environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the
Sand Hills area of Nebraska, the Department has determined it needs to
undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in
law primarily governs routes for interstate petroleum pipelines;
however, Nebraska currently has no such law or regulatory framework
authorizing state or local authorities to determine where a pipeline
goes. Taken together with the national concern about the pipeline’s
route, the Department has determined it is necessary to examine in-depth
alternative routes that would avoid the Sand Hills in Nebraska in order
to move forward with a National Interest Determination for the
"Based on the Department’s experience with pipeline project reviews and the time typically required for environmental reviews of similar scope by other agencies, it is reasonable to expect that this process including a public comment period on a supplement to the final EIS consistent with NEPA could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013. After obtaining the additional information, the Department would determine, in consultation with the eight other agencies identified in the Executive Order, whether the proposed pipeline was in the national interest, considering all of the relevant issues together. Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
“The mere fact that
the State Department is slowing down and taking a look at the dirty
Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is hugely encouraging. We commend
President Obama for listening to the American people and putting the
brakes on what would have been a disaster for millions of Americans who
want clean air, clean water and good health for their families.
“The Sierra Club is
confident that when the State Dept. evaluates the true costs of this
dirty project – threats to water supplies and ecologically sensitive
areas, destruction of the boreal forest, dangerous carbon emissions,
unsafe pipelines, and increased cancer and respiratory illnesses in
communities like Port Arthur and Houston, Texas – they will reject
announcement is a death knell for the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline and
lands a considerable blow to Big Oil, their lobbyists, and their
campaign of lies to keep Americans addicted to oil.
addiction to oil will only destroy our land, air, water and health while
keeping Americans shackled to the gas pump and beholden to Big Oil.
That's why it's imperative that we invest in American innovation and
21st Century transportation solutions like smarter, more fuel-efficient
cars and trucks, electric vehicles and transit to truly achieve energy
security and a clean energy economy beyond oil.”
Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet that leaves in its wake scarred landscapes and a web of pipelines and polluting refineries all while delaying our transition to a clean energy economy. Find out more about tar sands in these reports.
Toxic Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks
See a map of the existing and proposed tar sands pipelines and refineries.
Dennis Keeney, an Iowa State University emeritus professor in the Department of Agronomy and Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, has published an article in Environmental Science & Technology about environmental, social and food issues resulting from the rapidly expanding ethanol-from-corn industry. You can read the article here...
Last Updated 11.27.12
Other Energy Related Issues:
With unpredictable gasoline prices, we need all the ways we can get to save at the pump. Check out Sierra Club's Pain in the Gas website to find out more.
Don't Worry, Drive On: Fossil Fuels and Fracking Lies, a video by the Post Carbon Institute.
Oil Shale/Tar Sands Guide--An online guide to oil shale and tar sands resources with photos, maps, and links from the Bureau of Land Management.
Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands - Bill McKibbin, Yale Environment 360
Keystone XL pipeline would screw over farmers, threaten aquifer - Grist 7/17/11
Pipeline Plans Meet Growing Resistance - Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader, 10/29/11
The Top-10 Myths Vs. Facts About Keystone XL -- National Wildlife Federation, 11/3/11