Indeed, the State Department’s latest review backs up the bipartisan argument that Keystone won’t have a measurable environmental impact.
“Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, is 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 based on expected prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs and supply-demand scenarios,” says the study.
Environmentalists, however, see things much differently. Leading environmental activists argue that the study actually bolsters their case, thanks in large part to its conclusion that the Canadian oil is, in fact, more carbon-intensive than other forms of crude oil and therefore would result in more greenhouse-gas emissions.
They’re calling on Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry to squash Keystone once and for all. Environmentalists also have contended that Mr. Obama risks undoing all the climate-change progress he’s made — which has included limiting carbon emissions from power plants, instituting new fuel-economy standards and other steps — if he approves Keystone.
“It’s clear after just glancing at this report that it does give everything President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to reject the Keystone pipeline outright,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club and a leading Keystone critic. “The president has a choice … the president can approve the pipeline and give a windfall to the oil industry or he can live up to his promise and commit to a clean-energy economy for all Americans.”