TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline to move Athabasca Tar Sands bitumen to Gulf Coast refiners cleared a big hurdle today. The US State Department reported the venture poses "no significant impacts to most resources" so long as the operator complies with US laws and follows recommended safeguards.
The State Department’s report failed to back up its conclusions, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, said in an interview.
“When you read through the executive summary, they are noting a lot of real potential problems,” Casey-Lefkowitz said. “For them to do that and then conclude there no significant impact minimizes the very legitimate concerns of people who depend on the Ogallala aquifer and the 1,000 rivers that this pipeline would cross.”
The 1,700 mile pipeline could deliver up to 700,000 barrels of toxic, corrosive bitumen sludge a day to refineries in Texas and Oklahoma. The Gulf Coast refineries are facing declining production from Venezuela and Mexico even as their capacity is expected to rise by 500,000 barrels a day by 2020.