Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Environmental Protection Agency rips another State Department whitewash of Keystone XL risks

You can read the letter from the EPA here but below are excerpts from Elizabeth Shope's blog:
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency released its comments on the deficient environmental review for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that the State Department published on March 1, 2013. EPA rates the environmental impact statement with a 2 – meaning “insufficient” – and rates the environmental impact of Keystone XL as “EO” for “environmental objections.” EPA expresses serious concerns about the State Department’s markets analysis – which State uses to claim that there would be no significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
     EPA also writes that the differences in tar sands diluted bitumen spills and conventional oil spills should be more fully addressed, and that they are “concerned… that the DSEIS does not provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes.” These findings by EPA help confirm what we have been saying all along: the environmental review by the State Department is inadequate...

      ...Specifically, EPA ...notes that State’s markets analysis is “not based on an updated energy-economic modeling effort” and writes that State should “provide a more careful review of the market analysis and rail transport options...
     Regarding pipeline safety, EPA writes that following the rupture of Enbridge’s pipeline in Marshall, Michigan:
[O]il sands crude sank to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River, mixing with the river bottom's sediment and organic matter, making the oil difficult to find and recover. After almost three years of recovery efforts, EPA recently determined that dredging of bottom sediments will be required to protect public health and welfare and the environment. This determination was based in large part on demonstrations that the oil sands crude associated with the Enbridge spill will not appreciably biodegrade. We recommend that the Final EIS more clearly acknowledge that in the event of a spill to water, it is possible that large portions of dilbit will sink and that submerged oil significantly changes spill response and impacts.
EPA’s comments also request that the State Department address the additional risks that tar sands releases pose to public health – such as high levels of benzene in the air that could require evacuation as was required following the Kalamazoo spill.

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