March 16, 2011
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102
Toxic Tar Sands Pipeline Draws Scrutiny from State Department
Agency to Take Closer Look at Keystone XL, Open Public Comment Period
Washington, D.C. – The State Department is calling for further examination for the Keystone XL pipeline, proposed to carry toxic tar sands oil from Canada across the Midwestern United States. The agency has announced it will issue a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and will accept public comments on the project. Citizens and congressional leaders have urged the State Department to take a closer look at the project, citing concerns about threats to drinking water and agriculture. Keystone XL’s sister pipeline, Keystone 1 has already leaked at least seven times in its first six months of operation.
Statement of Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kate Colarulli
"We are very pleased that the State Department is taking a closer look at Keystone XL. However we are concerned that the State Department’s timeline may not leave adequate time to provide the thorough analysis that will ensure American water and land is protected. If any foreign oil project requires close scrutiny by our government, it’s this one. This project would carry toxic, dangerous tar sands oil right through America’s heartland, putting our drinking water and farming at risk.
The State Department now needs to carefully consider finding an alternative route for the pipeline that does not jeopardize the Ogallala aquifer, which is one of the most important sources of water in the country. The agency also needs to fully consider the scale of pollution the project would create, including air pollution from refining the toxic crude in Texas communities.
The tar sands oil Keystone XL would carry is dirtier and more likely to corrode steel pipe than conventional oil leading to elevated risk of spill. Extracting the oil is one of the most destructive practices in the world. It requires clear-cutting ancient forest, burning huge amounts of energy and water, and leaving behind massive toxic lakes. Tar sands oil is linked to high rates of cancer in nearby communities.
We will be working hard in the coming weeks to make sure the State Department hears from the tens of thousands of Americans who oppose this project."