Tag Archives: environmental impact report

Trains Will Move Tar Sands Oil, if Keystone XL Doesn’t

19 Mar

by Eve Troeh / Marketplace.org

Members of the French underground sabotage German supply lines by blasting trains

Members of the French underground sabotage German supply lines by blasting trains

The State Department’s latest environmental impact report says building the Keystone XL pipeline would have no additional impact on climate change, because that oil will simply flow by train instead. Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations says oil companies would prefer to send oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries by pipeline because it’s cheaper. Pipelines cost about $5 per barrel of crude.

“But if it turns out they need to spend $20 a barrel to move it by rail, they’re going to do that instead of leaving this $100 a barrel oil in the ground,” he says.

Since railroads already carry tar sands oil, and plan to carry much more, it does not matter if the Keystone XL pipeline gets built, from a climate change perspective. That’s what the new State Department report says: that the tar sands oil is going to get transported and burned, and its greenhouse gases will go into the air, no matter what. But Anthony Swift with the Natural Resources Defense Council says canceling the pipeline buys more time. Continue reading