TreeHugger: Shortsighted state department deems KXL pipeline will "cause minimal environmental impact"

• August 29, 2011

Photo Credit: tarsandsaction/flickr

By Matthew McDermott
As protesters continue their civil disobedience outside the White House (pictured above), and getting arrested by the score each day, the State Department has taken a further step towards approving the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, issuing its final environmental impact report.

Given previous support for the project it’s not surprising that State Department has found the proposed pipeline will cause minimal environmental impact and advises moving forward with it (Politico).

But the nation’s environmental organizations are immediately raising serious questions about the report.

NRDC‘s Susan Casey-Lefkowitz said it a press statement,

It is utterly beyond me how the administration can claim the pipeline will have ‘no significant impacts’ if they haven’t bothered to do in-depth studies around the issues of contention. The public has made their concerns clear and the administration seems to have ignored them. If permitted, the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be a dirty legacy that will haunt President Obama and Secretary Clinton for years to come.

Pipeline Approval Would Confirm Obama “Greenwashing” on Climate
Famed and outspoken NASA climatologist James Hansen goes even a step further, saying that if the Obama administration approves Keystone XL it will call the President’s entire climate policy into question.

Hansen told the New York Times if Keystone XL is approved,

It will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction.

Conversely, if Obama doesn’t approved the 1,700 mile pipeline it will show that he’s not a “hopeless addict”, hooked on oil.

What Wasn’t Asked By State Department
As for the questions that were not asked by the State Department, the Sierra Club says the report does address:

  • Threats to the Ogallala Aquifer and the the Sandhills of South Dakota.
  • The effects of toxic pollution from corrosive tar sands refineries on the residents of Houston and other communities.
  • “The fact that there are no existing federal safeguards in place for the safe transport of tar sands crude oil…one of the dirtiest and most dangerous forms of oil on Earth.

Reposted from our partners at TreeHugger. Read more on their blog.

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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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