Environmental organizations led by the Sierra Club on Thursday released a report they say shows the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be harmful to the environment.
President Barack Obama in June said the proposed pipeline should only be approved if it doesn't worsen carbon pollution.
“The answer to this climate test is unequivocal,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Thursday. “Keystone XL is a climate disaster. This report shows that tar sands release significantly more carbon pollution than average U.S. crude.”
The findings were published in a 32-page document titled “Fail: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test.”
The findings conflict with earlier State Department reports that minimized the environmental effect from the proposed line. Brune said those documents did not include several key factors about the dense oil produced in the portion of Alberta referred to as either the oil sands or the tar sands.
American Petroleum Institute spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel, however, said the environmental organizations have overstated the risk.
“We've been importing Canadian oil sands for many, many years,” Wohlschlegel said. “This is a type of crude similar to crudes we've been importing from Venezuela and other countries. This project is one of the biggest job growth opportunities ahead of us here in the United States. Any effort to try to justify what the State Department has already deemed as not significant impact on the environment is a distraction to what the American people are focused on: which is jobs.”
Also Thursday, the Sierra Club announced plans for a national day of protest against the Keystone XL pipeline Sept. 21.
As part of the event, the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club has scheduled a walk and protest beginning at the Pavilion in the Park in Stroud at 9 a.m.
“Greenwalk will be a peaceful, law abiding protest,” Sierra Club Oklahoma Chapter Director David Ocamb said. “We're going to hear from many speakers, including people from Arkansas who experienced the recent tar sands oil leak first hand.”