Keystone XL pipeline authorization a major setback in carbon reduction efforts

November 21, 2017
(OTTAWA) Nebraska disappointed with its authorization of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, which will bring huge quantities of Alberta bitumen to the US. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission ruled that this pipeline could be built in that state, paving the way for this massive $8 billion, 1,897-kilometer pipeline.

“All new pipelines from Alberta, including Kinder Morgan’s expansion project to the B.C. coast, Enbridge’s line 9 to the east, or the Keystone XL going south to the US, mean more Alberta bitumen extraction, which represents one of the most polluting sources of fossil fuel production in the world,” declared Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

“Only a few days after an oil spill from existing sections of the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota, this new pipeline authorization means greater risks to groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes along the pipeline’s proposed route. Our thoughts go out to all US citizens who could be exposed to these risks in the future,” added Ms May.

While this decision will almost certainly be challenged in US courts, it sends mixed messages from Canada on the heels of recent United Nations Climate Change talks held last week in Bonn.

“Canada admits that we must reduce our addiction to fossil fuels, while simultaneously promoting massive exports of Alberta bitumen to Asia, the US and Europe. To be consistent with our position on climate change put forth in Bonn, we simply cannot have it both ways. More pipelines exporting bitumen means more climate-altering greenhouse gases, and missed job opportunities for Albertans to refine this product at home,” concluded Ms. May.