State Department Predicted Cancelling XL Pipeline Would Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Penny Starr | November 18, 2015 | 9:51pm EST
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Miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Cushing, Okla. (AP Photo)

( – President Barack Obama formally rejected the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline earlier this month, citing its contribution to climate change, but a State Department report shows greenhouse gas emissions from the alternative method of rail delivery would actually increase. 

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

According to the State Department’s January 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, greenhouse gas emissions will actually increase without the Keystone pipeline if the crude oil from Canada is alternatively transported by rail across the U.S.


“During operation of all No Action rail scenarios, the increased number of unit trains along the scenario routes would result in GHG emissions from both diesel fuel combustion and electricity generation to support rail terminal operations (as well as for pump station operations for the Rail/Pipeline Scenario),” the statement stated. “The total annual GHG emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the No Action scenarios range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed Project.”

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