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IHS CERA and State Department agree on Keystone XL emissions

A new study from IHS CERA shows that building the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not add to greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s hardly a stop-the-presses announcement, but it’s worth highlighting because it confirms a key point in the State Department’s draft environmental review of Keystone XL about potential emissions increases from going forward with the $7 billion project.

The significance of the IHS CERA study is that it directly addresses the concern stated by President Obama, who said in June that he won’t sign off on Keystone XL if it “significantly exacerbates” emissions.

The rationale for approving Keystone XL keeps getting stronger.

Both the State Department and IHS CERA note that if Keystone XL ultimately were not built – as many environmental activists demand – the oil sands would still get to market via rail and alternative pipeline projects. Therefore the greenhouse gas emissions profile of the oil sands is unaffected by whether or not the pipeline gets the green light.

One possible alternative came to light last week when TransCanada announced plans to construct a pipeline to ship oil sands crude east to a deepwater port it will build in New Brunswick.

That announcement is hard evidence that the goal of anti-oil activists of cancelling Keystone XL as a means of shutting in oil sands production will not be successful. Those resources are critical to helping us meet growing demand for energy. Innovation (such as our Kearl Oil Sands Project, which requires no upgrader) is helping reduce oil sands production-related emissions to levels comparable to many other oils used in the United States.

One might argue that if the oil sands will be developed anyway, what’s the big deal about approving Keystone XL?

Keystone XL is important because it would be the safest, most efficient and cost-competitive way to bring oil sands crude to the Gulf Coast. It increases U.S. energy security by connecting with resources located within the borders of our most reliable trading partner, Canada.

The proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline has been studied to death since it was introduced in 2005. That’s long enough. The president should approve Keystone XL today.

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