Keystone XL Review Sees Little Impact on Climate

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Analysis Finds Project Wouldn’t Likely Change Amount of Oil From Canadian Oil Sands.

An Obama administration analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline said it probably wouldn’t alter the amount of oil ultimately removed from Canadian oil sands, boosting the pipeline’s backers by suggesting it would have little impact on climate change.

The release of the long-awaited report is one of the last steps before the up-or-down decision by President Barack Obama, who must juggle conflicting demands from supporters heading into midterm elections.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canadian oil sands into the U.S. Midwest on the way to Gulf coast refineries, has become a potent symbol both for environmentalists who say it would accelerate global warming and for unions and business leaders who see it as a way to stoke North America’s development as an energy-producing superpower.

The environmental analysis released Friday by the State Department, … said that “approval or denial of any one crude-oil transport project, including the proposed project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands.”

The finding that the oil would be extracted and delivered anyway—possibly by rail if not pipeline—left environmentalists disappointed.

“I will not be satisfied with any analysis that does not accurately document what is really happening on the ground when it comes to the extraction, transport, refining and waste disposal of dirty, filthy, tar-sands oil,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee and a White House ally.

The report isn’t the last word on the matter. Now begins a final State Department study to determine whether the pipeline project is in the nation’s broader interests. Eight separate agencies have up to three months to weigh in.

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