The U.S. State Department on Friday concluded that a northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly impact global greenhouse gas emissions if built. In its final environmental assessment of the project, the State Department said approval or denial of a single crude oil transport project would not affect the rate of oil production in the Canadian oil sands.
Industry groups pressed the Obama Administration to approve the project. The president himself has said he would greenlight the project if it were proven not to have a substantial impact on the environment.
“Today’s release of the pipeline’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement provides the irrefutable evidence sought by the president, and he should waste no further time in delivering on his promise,” American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles Drevna said in a statement. “The president’s continued odyssey for environmental justification to reject the pipeline, despite substantiating rationale, is an effort to circumvent the nation’s regulatory process and diminishes our standing within the international community.”
Canadian officials and top executives at TransCanada have turned the heat up on the administration in recent weeks to make a decision. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back by stating that environmental review was ongoing. With that hurdle now cleared, it remains to be seen how promptly the administration will act. Opponents of the project will likely intensify their pressure on the White House to deny TransCanada's proposal.