The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has publicly posted a letter it submitted to the State Department with new comments on the agency’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Keystone XL.
EPA was also separately among eight federal agencies that had until yesterday (Feb. 2) to weigh in on the State Dept.’s “national interest determination” for KXL.
Statement of Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb:
“It is reassuring the EPA stands with farmers and ranchers who know the Sandhills are still crossed by this risky pipeline and that alternative routes were not given enough serious consideration. America is diversifying our energy sources with renewables and Keystone XL continues to be a step backwards and simply does not make sense given low oil prices and the high carbon content of tarsands.”
The EPA in its comments hits the State Dept. for not thoroughly examining alternate pipeline routes that would avoid the fragile Sandhills and Ogallala aquifer, adding that “the proposed pipeline does present a risk of spills, which remains a concern for citizens and businesses relying on groundwater resources crossed by the route.”
The EPA also updated its climate analysis for Keystone XL, now concluding that “development of oil sands crude represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” with KXL projected to increase emissions to the tune of the equivalent of “an additional 5.7 million passenger vehicles or 7.8 coal fired power plants per year.”
Finally, the EPA’s comments provide a “more robust market analysis” of how the plummeting price of oil has affected the scenario for Keystone, concluding that “construction of the pipeline is projected to change the economics of oil sands development and result in increased oil sands production, and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, over what would otherwise occur.”
The EPA’s comments clearly indicate that Keystone XL fails President Obama’s “climate test,” and will lead to significant increases in carbon pollution.