Tar Sands Pipeline Passes Key Hurdle as Protests Continue

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A controversial 1,711-mile pipeline that would link Canada’s tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast has passed a critical hurdle, even as environmental advocates continue to demonstrate outside the White House in opposition to the project.

While the project must still must pass several key steps, State Department officials said Friday that the owners of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, had agreed to take steps to minimize the risks of spill, and many expect the Obama administration to approve the project in some form by the end of the year.

The latest environmental impact statement falls short of answering some questions raised by federal agencies, including concerns by the Environmental Protection Agency about the effects on air quality, drinking water, and endangered species. Environmental advocates have condemned the project, saying it will commit the U.S. to a dirty form of oil and pose ecological risks across the length of the pipeline for decades to come.

Nearly 400 protesters have been arrested so far in the ongoing demonstration in Washington, D.C., including activist Bill McKibben and longtime environmental leader James Gustave Speth.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

1 Comment

  1. I realize that we will need to keep using oil as a bridge to the future but this project is just a bad idea. (can you say Luddites?) If the money that will, no doubt, be spent to build this pipeline were spent instead on finding ways to scale up algae-oil production we could be much closer to a carbon neutral and sustainable liquid fuels paradigm. Instead we are going to continue the rape of the Alberta landscape and subject ourselves too serious potential spills and other environmental disasters all for the sake of the SHORT BUCK….idiotic and criminal in my opinion

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