U.S. EPA announces "environmental objections" to oil sands pipeline - Macleans.ca

U.S. EPA announces “environmental objections” to oil sands pipeline


The US Environmental Protection Agency has sent a letter to the State Department raising “environmental objections” to  TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry crude oil from the Alberta oil sands through the American Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The State Department is considering whether or not to issue a permit for the pipeline, which has the support of the Alberta and Canadian governments.

(The letter is in response to the State Department’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The supplemental was issued after the EPA criticized the first EIS as inadequate. But the EPA says that State again did not provide sufficient analysis in its supplemental EIS.)

In yesterday’s letter, the EPA said that it has “environmental objections” to the Keystone XL project.

(The “environmental objections” rating is explained on page 8 of the letter — out of 4 possible rankings, this is the second-most negative and requires either “corrective measures” or “alternative actions” to be taken.)

The EPA says it has concerns about pipeline safety and spills, impacts on nearby communities, and greenhouse gas emissions, among others.

The full letter is here.

Meanwhile, yesterday the State Dept. said it would hold six additional field hearings on the proposed pipeline — something environmentalists had been asking for.  The move is a disappointment to House Republicans who have been urging the Obama administration to fast-track the project both as a means to “energy security” and as way to create construction jobs in the US. (They even introduced a bill that would require the administration to reach a permit decision by Nov. 1. State has said it will make a decision by the end of 2011.)

The letter comes after the US pipeline safety regulator ordered the existing Keystone pipeline shut down on Friday after a series of leaks. It was allowed to reopen the next day.

Environmentalists were encouraged by the EPA’s letter:

“With this rating, the EPA is standing up for the people who would be hurt by the Keystone XL pipeline, including Midwest farmers and low-income people around Texas refineries,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “All eyes are on Secretary of State Clinton. Will she comply with the law and ensure that these impacts are studied or not?”

Meanwhile, Andrew Leach argues at the Globe and Mail’s website that the pipeline’s potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions is being overstated.


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U.S. EPA announces “environmental objections” to oil sands pipeline

  1. Damned fools! Have they not heard of Ethical Oil?

  2. It is ironic that the USA through Sun Oil of Philadephia was the first Corporation to finance and build the pioneering oilsands plant now known as Suncor Energy in 1967.
    That commenced the increasing operation of oilsands oil that is ethical and produces no more GHGs than conventional oil. In addition if gives thousands of new skilled jobs to the USA as well as Canada. Fortunately CHINA is begging for this oil also and the USA fringe groups may give the USA a big black eye. OBAMA is listening to eco-nuts who have no moral compass at all.

    • ‘The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.’


      Nixon created it, and I doubt anyone would call him an ‘eco-nut’.

      ‘Moral compass’…..snort.!

    • “… oilsands oil that is ethical and produces no more GHGs than conventional oil.”

      Can you back up this statement at all?

  3. The EPA has been over run with greenie leftoids for decades and they and their enviro-whacko-jihadi friends still think they can set us economic policy.

    But then they also still believe in Global Warming and drink Obama Kool-Aide so I guess we shouldn’t expect any common sense from them.

    • Sorry, not biting on this nonsense either.

    • Fred_the_Red,

      Even China admits the existence of global warming as do the global warming skeptics who hired a famous physicist who was a skeptic to rerun the experiments run by the global warming scientists and guess what?  He duplicated the results and admitted he was no longer a skeptic.  The evidence is getting rather compelling.  Having said that, we do need to balance economic impact with enviromental regulation and environmentalists have been known to miss sight of the big picture and advocate for policy that in the end can cause more harm than good. 

  4. Of course EPA raised objections, that can’t be surprise. 

    EPA think CO2 is pollutant, I can well imagine what they think of oil pipeline. 

    “The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to classify rising carbon-dioxide emissions as a hazard to human health is the latest twist in a debate that has raged for decades among politicians, scientists and industry: whether a natural component of the earth’s atmosphere should be considered a pollutant.” Wall St Journal, Apr 2009

  5. Here’s the real greenie news today . . KYOTO IS DEAD,

    gone to meet its maker, ten toes up, f*k’n snuffed it.

    “EU joins Russia, Japan and Canada – EU will only renew Kyoto Protocol if agreement covers all major economies at the same time.

    Delegates from around the world are
    meeting in Bonn to prepare the way for this year’s climate summit in
    South Africa. The UN’s climate chief seems to think the time has run out
    for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol.

    It is unclear, as yet, what will
    happen when the first commitment period of the sole treaty setting out
    legally binding emissions targets expires at the end of 2012.

    The plan was to come up with a
    successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but with Russia, Japan and Canada all
    saying they will not sign up to a new round of cuts unless emerging
    economies such as China, India and Brazil get on board, that is not
    looking very likely.

    The US, which has always refused to
    ratify Kyoto, is one of a number of countries which favors an approach
    based upon voluntary commitment”

  6. The question that should be asked by Canadians is why we’re willing to ship jobs to Gulf Coast to begin with?
    We have a horrible tendency to export raw materials out of Canada and buy back the finished product. Softwood, iron ore, and oil are the current lost potential goods that we trade away in return for what? Finished goods that we could have traded to them, at value added cost.