NEW YORK Approval of TransCanada Corp.s proposed Keystone XL pipeline would significantly increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it would spur the development of Canadas oil sands, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"Keystone XL, by increasing transport capacity, would enable increased tar sands production and thus trigger all the attendant increases in GHG emissions," the council said in a report.
President Obama said recently that the pipelines expected impact on GHG emissions is critical to its approval (amm.com, June 26).
Rail transport of Alberta crude presents serious cost hurdles for producers, contrary to the State Departments findings that rail would be used in lieu of the pipeline, according to the NRDC.
"Higher transportation costs associated with rail will undermine the economic feasibility of many new tar sands production projects and will reduce investment in tar sands expansion," the NRDC wrote.
Safety concerns also surround crude-by-rail transport following the recent disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 50 people (amm.com, July 13), the report pointed out.
Other planned pipelines to Canadas West Coast face significant regulatory hurdles and even if approved do not represent sufficient capacity for producers, according to the NRDC.
In response to the study, a TransCanada spokesman said in an e-mailed statement that "the latest paper by the NRDC and its allies does not add any new information to the discussion around Keystone XL. Two dozen government agencies and experts have already completed four environmental reviews ... that have repeatedly stated that this pipeline will have little or no impact on the environmental resources along the entire route."