Greens urge Obama to say no to Keystone

The Green Party of Canada is calling on President Obama to reject the proposal for Keystone XL following today’s release of a State Department report on the pipeline’s environmental and economic impact.

Today’s surprisingly tepid Report suggests that in the coming years, the Alberta oil sands will be highly vulnerable to any restrictions on new pipeline construction, stating in part that “If there were long-term constraints on any new pipeline capacity… there could be a substantial impact on oil sands production levels.”

In light of these findings, which would seem to contradict the assumption that the Alberta oil sands would be developed whether or not Keystone is built, the Green Party is urging the Obama Administration to reject the proposal.

“It is clear that current capacity to move raw, unprocessed bitumen out of Canada is hampered by relying solely on rail. Any new pipeline will create expanded oil sands operations, and with them increased greenhouse gas emissions,” said Elizabeth May, Green Leader and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “We should insist on sensible Canadian policies that create jobs in Canada in refining bitumen.”

The release of the State Department’s environmental assessment of the proposed project means that President Obama now has 90 days left to make a final decision on whether to accept or reject TransCanada Corp.’s application to build the 1,400 km pipeline, which would connect the Alberta oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

The Report states that during its operations, greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the Keystone XL pipeline would be equivalent to “approximately 300,000 passenger vehicles operating for 1 year, or 71,928 homes using electricity for 1 year.”