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Keystone Pipeline’s Dangers Now Clearer Than Ever

WASHINGTON (September 19, 2013)-- While some would try to short-circuit the established review process for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, this common-sense approach has revealed the dangers and risks of this badly misguided effort, Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council told a House subcommittee today. It has shown that the tar sands pipeline is a bad idea, he said.

Keystone XL would pipe some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be shipped overseas through the Gulf of Mexico. Financial analysts, industry commentators, and the environmental community agree that Keystone XL is a linchpin for tar sands expansion and the significant carbon pollution associated with it.  

Summarizing his testimony before the subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Swift, an attorney in the NRDC’s International Program, made the following statement:

“It is now clear that Keystone XL is critical to enable expansion of tar sands production and associated carbon emissions. Rail does not offer sufficient capacity for the industry’s expansion plans, and other potential pipelines face significant obstacles.

“We have new information showing that tar sands is more carbon intensive relative to conventional crudes, including information showing that tar sands crudes generate substantially more petroleum coke than conventional U.S. fuel stocks.

“Spills in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Mayflower, Arkansas, which have occurred since the pipeline application was first filed, demonstrate that tar sands crude is more damaging and difficult to clean up, particularly if it contaminates water bodies.

“The federal review process has given Nebraskans of both parties a forum to reject a plan to route the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through their most sensitive water resources.

“The State Department review of the Keystone XL pipeline showed that the majority of the tar sands from Keystone XL will be exported internationally after it is refined in the Gulf.

“Contrary to claims that the pipeline would be a national jobs creator, the State Department review of the project has confirmed that the construction of the pipeline would generate the equivalent of roughly two years of work for 1,000 people, a job creation potential on par with building a shopping mall, and once built its operation would only employ 50 personnel in both Canada and the United States.

“The substantial risks of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline outweigh its marginal benefits. In exchange for 50 permanent jobs, Keystone XL would pose a permanent risk to American communities, sensitive water resources, the agricultural industry and our climate.”

Read Anthony Swift’s full testimony here: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF17/20130919/101321/HHRG-113-IF17-Wstate-SwiftA-20130919.pdf

Read Anthony’s Swift’s blog here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aswift/years_of_public_scrutiny_have.html


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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