In advance of the deadline to respond to the US State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, submitted an evidence-based response to US Secretary of State John Kerry.
In the submission, May declared that turning down TransCanada’s application to build the pipeline would be a necessary first step “To assist Canada to develop a domestic energy strategy, energy security, and a real climate plan.”
In critiquing the Final EIS, May argued that its fatal flaw was in describing the project as one to move crude oil.
“There are many kinds of crude. Some will argue that bitumen is a form of crude. I ask you to rule that the whole report is deficient in failing to notice that bitumen is not crude,” said the Green Leader. “I ask you to find that, no matter how light or heavy crude oil may be, to be called “crude,” it is at least required to be a liquid. Bitumen is essentially a solid.”
May further argued that the requirement to mix solid bitumen with a fossil fuel condensate called “diluent”, imported mainly from Saudi Arabia, would mean that the so-called “dilbit” is not a Canadian product and does not necessarily unplug the US from Middle East fossil fuel dependency.
“I discovered when meeting with US law makers in Washington, that there was a misapprehension that if Keystone was approved the movement of hazardous fossil fuels by rail would end. I have done the math and it is abundantly clear that, if the oil sands expand as currently planned, even if Keystone, and Kinder-Morgan and Enbridge are all approved, there will still be oil sands bitumen moving by rail. That is why it is urgent that on both sides of the border, that unsafe rail cars, like the DOT111, be banned,” said May.
While urging Kerry to reject the Keystone pipeline project, the Green Leader did not let the US off the hook for its own carbon emissions.
Calling the rejection of Keystone a “required, but insufficient step to meet the climate challenge,” May went on to call for urgent action to reduce US emissions, particularly from coal use and fracking, along with fugitive emissions from flaring in North Dakota’s Bakken oil and gas fields. May urged Kerry to shift the US performance at global climate negotiations from slowing down progress for a new climate treaty and to instead assume a leadership role.
It is not clear if any other federal party made a submission to the US State Department.