TransCanada Clarifies Environmental Impact of Keystone XL in U.S. State Department Letter
On July 17, TransCanada sent a letter to the Department of State to provide and update about the actual greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Keystone XL pipeline. This letter is intended to inform the record for our application to build Keystone XL, following U.S. President Barack Obama’s June 28 speech on climate change, energy and environmental priorities at Georgetown University.
“Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest,” said President Obama during his Georgetown speech. “And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. 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.”
In the letter, TransCanada responds to the President’s comments by stating:
• The US currently refines about 4 million bpd of imported heavy crude oil with the largest suppliers of heavy crude to the US Gulf Coast region being Venezuela and Mexico. As stated in TransCanada’s May 8, 2013 letter to the Department of State, the oil sands production that is expected to be transported by the Keystone XL Project would displace those Venezuelan and Mexican crude oils.
• The most recent study released by IHS CERA on the lifecycle GHG emissions from Canadian oil sands indicates there is no significant difference in lifecycle GHG intensities between the product proposed to be carried by Keystone XL and similar heavy crudes.
• Given that the estimated incremental greenhouse gas emissions associated with the products carried by Keystone XL are expected to be substantially less than 18.7 million tonnes per year, the estimated increase in the average global temperature would be less than one one-hundred thousandth of a degree.
• The Keystone XL Pipeline is powered by electric motors and therefore the pipeline itself has little or no direct emissions when in operation. (SOURCE: Department of State, Draft SEIS, March 2013, Table 4.12-6, page 4.12-12)
TransCanada has said repeatedly that we agree with the goal of moving towards a less carbon-intensive economy. In fact, we’ve put our money where our mouth is. To date, TransCanada has invested over $5 billion in emission-less energy sources, including the largest wind farm in Maine and 13 hydro power facilities in the US Northeast, along with solar, nuclear, and wind developments in Canada. Specifically, TransCanada produces about 11,800 megawatts (MW) of energy, of which 3,600 MW or 31% is generated from emission-less sources. That 3,600 MW represents seven times the power requirements of the Keystone XL project.
When people take the time to learn more about what Keystone XL is – what it really is – then they realize that Keystone XL does not significantly exacerbate carbon emissions. In fact, most reasonable people recognize that we all rely on the safe and responsible development and operation of modern energy infrastructure. That’s why American refineries need the oil it will supply, and that’s why despite three years of professional campaigns against this pipeline and a barrage of misinformation, a solid majority of Americans continue to support Keystone XL.