The Environmental Protection Agency objected Monday to the State Department’s latest review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, suggesting that more work must be done before the Obama administration can determine whether to approve the 1,179-mile northern leg of the project.
The EPA recommended that State reassess the amount of greenhouse gas that would be emitted by the development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada, as a result of construction of the pipeline, which eventually could transport as much as 830,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude to refineries in Texas.
Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, suggested the total gas released could be higher than State has estimated, depending on assumptions in the analysis.
She recommended that State acknowledge that large portions of the crude will sink if there is a spill into a waterway and spell out how it would require pipeline operator TransCanada to respond. She asked State to take another look at an alternative route for the proposed $5.3 billion pipeline, one that would take it away from the Ogallala aquifer, one of the world’s largest sources of fresh groundwater.