A Keystone XL Primer

Brad Plumer condenses the State Department’s massive Keystone XL pipeline environmental review into four takeaways.

The report’s main conclusion: The northern leg of the pipeline would not have a “significant” impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions because most of the tar sands from the Alberta fields would find a market anyway.

  1. Oil from Alberta’s tar sands produces 17% more GHG emissions over its life-cycle than regular oil.
  2. The State Department thinks blocking the Keystone XL pipeline would have only a small impact on tar-sands production and climate change. If rail is used instead, overall transportation emissions could well even increase by 28 to 42%.
  3. A pipeline spill is “unlikely” to affect the key Ogallala Aquifer.
  4. The Keystone XL project, if built, would support 42,000 jobs over its two-year construction period. Of those, about 3,900 would be temporary construction jobs.