[Washington, DC] The State Department's environmental review of Keystone XL must consider the cumulative effects of the carbon pollution from all tar sands pipeline proposals, say 16 public interest groups in a letter submitted today. Looking at individual pipelines proposals in isolation does not meet federal legal requirements.
The National Environmental Policy Act requires agencies to consider the cumulative impacts of proposed federal agency actions such as Keystone XL. However, State’s current draft environmental review of Keystone XL downplays the project’s influence on tar sands expansion in Alberta, Canada, asserting that any single pipeline project is unlikely to impact the rate of tar sands development.
In 2013, the State Department announced that it is also preparing an environmental analysis for another major tar sands pipeline proposal, the Alberta Clipper pipeline, which means the State Department has authority over two major pipeline projects representing a total capacity increase of 1.3 million barrel per day. Tar sands industry expansion and the associated carbon pollution are direct consequences of the administration’s decisions on these proposals and must be considered cumulatively by the agency in a supplemental environmental impact statement.
Groups on the letter: Sierra Club, Bold Nebraska, Center for Biological Diversity, For Love of Water, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Labor Network for Sustainability, Michigan Environmental Council, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, Michigan Land Use Institute, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, 350.org