The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a strong objection to the State Department’s environmental impact review for the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which is fiercely opposed by environmentalists.
In a letter to the State Department filed on Monday, the EPA raised serious objections with the current status of the Keystone XL pipeline, citing multiple concerns about safety, greenhouse gas emissions and possible alternative routes.
Last month, the State Department released an environmental impact report asserting that Keystone XL would have a negligible effect on the environment. But the EPA report raises serious questions about the State Department’s initial assessment.
Most notably, the EPA says greenhouse gas emissions had been seriously overlooked in the State Department report and asked the State Department to seriously consider a more thorough analysis of Keystone XL’s environmental impact.
“We recommend a focus on pumping station energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, as well as investment in other carbon mitigation options,” the EPA wrote in its report.
As a part of the EPA’s review, the organization requested that the State Department revise the plan for the Keystone XL pipeline to incorporate several suggestions that would improve public safety. Suggested improvements included allowing the EPA to have a say in emergency protocols for the pipeline.
Currently, the Keystone Pipeline transports crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, in Canada to Pakota, Ill. The Keystone XL addition would greatly extend the route of the pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to Houston. The Keystone XL extension was first proposed in 2008, two years before the first phase of the Keystone pipeline was completed. The project has been hotly debated ever since.
Because Keystone XL would pass through international borders, the State Department has a large amount of authority over the pipeline.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.