TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. is proposing to construct and operate a crude oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to destinations in the south central United States. Alberta holds vast reserves of oil sands -- a highly viscous hydrocarbon which is semi-solid at room temperature -- with the equivalent of more oil than Iraq's total reserves. Oil sands require a significant amount of energy and water to extract, with lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions up to 15 percent higher than conventional oil.
Because this project would span the U.S.-Canada border, the U.S. Department of State must issue a permit for the project to proceed. The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) submitted comments to the State Department, which included:
- Construction of the XL pipeline poses significant impacts and uncertain risks to water resources and human health along the proposed route of the pipeline.
- Construction of the XL pipeline would be a multi-billion dollar investment that would commit the United States to consumption of a large volume of highly carbon-intensive fuel for decades.
- The need for the XL pipeline project is premature and uncertain, and future demand for unconventional fuels like Canadian oil sands is predicated on a failure to establish policies to curb emissions.