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June 07, 2011

EPA Calls State Dept Tar Sands Review Insufficient

ND spill3 Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called the U.S. State Department's supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline "insufficient."

In a letter to the State Department, EPA says it has "a number of concerns regarding the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Project, as well as the level of analysis and information provided concerning those impacts."

Those concerns are:

  • The potential impacts to groundwater resources from spills.
  • The effects on emission levels at refineries in the Gulf Coast and the corresponding health impacts for these Americans.
  • The levels of climate disrupting pollution associated with the proposed Project, and whether appropriate mitigation measures to reduce this carbon pollution are being considered.
  • The impacts on ecologically important wetlands in Texas and Nebraska.
  • The potential impacts to already-vulnerable species of migratory birds.

You can read the full detailed nine-page letter from EPA here (PDF).

This letter comes after a July 2010 announcement from EPA that the State Department's first draft EIS on the Keystone XL was inadequate, and even notes the amount of public involvement in making sure this proposed tar sands oil pipeline is properly reviewed:

Since that (first letter in July 2010), the State Department has worked diligently to develop additional information and analysis in response to EPA's comments and the large number of other comments received on the (draft) EIS.

The Sierra Club has been very active in calling for additional environmental review of TransCanada's plans for the Keystone XL pipeline - echoing the EPA's conclusion that critical information is still lacking. The State Department has done an irresponsibly sloppy analysis and in the process is endangering American water, air and communities. Over a quarter million Americans have spoken against this pipeline in just the last 45 days, with more than 265,000 public comments being sent to the State Department.

We don't need Canada's dirty, destructive tar sands, and it's great to see EPA calling for better study of just how bad this Keystone XL tar sands pipeline can be for Americans.

Above photo of a recent oil spill in North Dakota from TransCanada's other U.S. pipeline, Keystone 1.

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