The State Department concluded that the proposed pipeline would not significantly increase green house gas emissions. Official cautioned that the project would still be measured to determine if it meets the president’s broader climate strategy.
According to FOX News, a State Department official said Canadian oil sands are likely to be developed regardless of U.S. action on the pipeline, adding that other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, including rail, trucks and barges, would be worse for climate change.
The report said that “approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.”
The release of the EIS starts a 90 day review period, during which the Obama Administration must determine whether or not it is in the national interest. Proponents argue that it is, while opponents believe Obama should reject the pipeline and turn his major focus on alternative energy.
During his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Obama talked about the environment and a concentrated effort on natural gas, the reduction of carbon emissions and better fuel consumption for passenger cars and extend it to transport trucks. The president’s ideology may very well have him delay the decision, at least beyond the mid-term election.
On the one hand Obama’s environmental base wants him to reject the pipeline, while unions want it approved to benefit from good paying union jobs for pipeline construction personnel and the run off industries.
Both the federal government in Ottawa and the provincial government in Edmonton, Alberta appreciate the passing of this final hurdle and are hopeful that the process, which has been ongoing for over 5 years will reach a positive conclusion. President Obama rejected TransCanada’s first application due to the sensitive Nebraska oilsands. It is now up to the White House and the president to expedite this process.