EPA Says Keystone XL Could Increase Emissions as Oil Prices Fall
Oil prices have dropped so low that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline could play a bigger role in the development of Canada’s tar sands oil market and thus contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told the State Department in a letter released to the public on 3 February.
The EPA’s remarks in the letter about the Keystone XL project could lend weight to President Barack Obama’s view that the controversial pipeline should not be approved if it significantly increases carbon pollution.
In the letter, the EPA implied that falling oil prices—which have more than halved since the summer—mean that shipping Canadian oil to the United States will not be economical unless the pipeline is built.
The State Department is evaluating the project because the TransCanada pipeline would carry oil from a foreign country. The department is expected to make a recommendation to Obama on the project soon, after reviewing comments from the EPA and other federal agencies.
Obama will make the final decision on Keystone XL, which has been pending for more than 6 years.
The EPA’s letter about the pipeline said more attention should be paid to the “potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse gas emissions.”