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2013-04-23. How much does EPA’s objection to Keystone XL matter? A lot.

posted Apr 24, 2013, 3:27 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Apr 24, 2013, 3:29 PM ]

For Energy Use chapter 3. Excerpt: How much does it matter that the Environmental Protection Agency has officially questioned aspects of the State Department’s draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal? A lot. The State Department is the agency in charge of deciding whether the administration should give a presidential permit to TransCanada to build a pipeline to transport heavy crude oil 1,179 miles between Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Okla. ...But other agencies can weigh in on the project, and force President Obama to serve as the final referee. ...the State Department released a draft environmental impact assessment of the project, suggesting that the project would have little impact on climate change because the oil it was shipping would be extracted anyway even if the pipeline wasn’t built. But in a letter Monday, the EPA suggested the draft assessment may have underestimated the climate impact of the pipeline, ... because State assumes the energy-intense crude oil would be extracted and shipped by rail if the pipeline is not constructed. Keystone opponents have argued that trains can carry nowhere near the amount of oil that a pipeline could, therefore blocking the pipeline would create a transportation bottleneck and slow down development of the oil sands. ... Two pipeline spills of diluted bitumen, in Michigan in 2010 and in Arkansas this year, have raised concern about the challenge of cleaning up heavy crude from Canada.... http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/04/23/how-much-does-epas-objection-to-keystone-xl-matter-a-lot/  - Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post.