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EPA urges another look at emissions from Keystone XL Pipeline

Native youth in South Dakota take a stand against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News

The Environmental Protection Agency is urging the State Department to "revisit" a key issue affecting the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

In January 2014, the State Department concluded that energy development in Canada would occur whether or not the United States approves the pipeline. But the EPA now believes a significant drop in oil prices in the past year would lead to increased oil extraction, which would contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Given recent large declines in oil prices and the uncertainty of oil price projections, the additional low price scenario included in the final SEIS should be given additional weight during decision making, due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse gas emissions," the EPA said in a letter to the State Department, referring to the final supplemental environmental impact statement from January 2014.

The final decision on the permit for the pipeline rests with President Barack Obama. He has previously said climate change will be a factor in his decision.

Republican lawmakers have accused Obama of intentionally delaying a decision and they have made the pipeline one of their top priorities in the 114th Congress. Both the House and the Senate passed bills to authorize the project.

The House is expected to vote next week on S.1, the version of the approval bill that was approved in the Senate. Obama has vowed to veto the measure.

Get the Story:
EPA: Keystone XL’s climate impacts need to be revisited (AP 2/3)
EPA: Cheap oil weakens the case for the Keystone XL pipeline (The Washington Post 2/4)
E.P.A. Says Pipeline Could Spur Emissions (The New York Times 2/4)

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