Keystone won't 'significantly' increase emissions, US State Department says

A new report from the US State Department will make Keystone pipeline proponents very happy: The pipeline will not greatly increase carbon emissions, according to report.

Why? Because oil sands development in Alberta will continue with our without TransCanada's $5.4 billion pipeline; Keystone "is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extration in oil sands areas," the State Department concluded.

"The dominant drivers of oil sands development are more global than any single infrastructure project. Oil sands production and investment could slow or accelerate depending on oil price trends, regulations, and technological developments, but the potential effects of those factors on the industry’s rate of expansion should not be conflated with the more limited effects of individual pipelines," the report reads.

This final technical review by the US State Department – though not the final decision – will likely have a major impact on whether or not the Obama administration ultimately approves the project.

President Obama has cited concerns over carbon emissions as a big reason why he's not eager to give his blessing.

"The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward," Obama said last summer.

“Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States based on expected oil,” the report reads. Source: Bloomberg 

But the report also validated one of the President's claims: The project will not contribute much to jobs. In fact, it will only add about 35 permanent jobs and 15 temporary jobs after the two-year construction phase – a point which many had already pointed out.

The Keystone pipeline – which would transport Alberta's crude to Texas refineries – would add about 42,100 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Whether or not the project is in the US' national interest is the key question Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry must consider when deciding whether to grant the Presidential Permit – required in order to construct a pipeline on the border with Canada.

TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) was up 1.5% on the New York exchange following the news on Friday, trading at $43.45 per share.

The public immediately took to Twitter – some to air their grievances and others to celebrate.





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