Tuesday, April 23, 2013

EPA asks State Dept. to find another route for pipeline, questions greenhouse-gas estimates

A stick marks the proposed route of the pipeline near
Bradshaw, Neb. (Associated Press photo by Nati Harnik)
The Environmental Protection Agency has voiced concerns about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, saying the State Department may have underestimated the amount of greenhouse gas it could release. The EPA is asking the State Department to look for an alternative route, saying more analysis needs to be conducted before the government approves the TransCanada project to ship heavy tar-sands oil from Alberta.

"The EPA’s objection provides opponents with political ammunition and could force President Obama to weigh in on the permitting decision," report Lenny Bernstein and Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post. "Secretary of State John Kerry will decide whether the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest unless another federal agency objects. If the EPA continues to challenge State’s analysis, Obama will have to make the call."

The northern leg of the pipeline would covers 1,179 miles and transport 830,000 barrels daily, traveling across 274 miles of Nebraska, home of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital source of water under most of the Great Plains. We wrote recently about the fight Nebraskans have waged against the pipeline to get it moved away from the aquifer.

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