Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) demanded that the State Department conduct a study on the health effects the Keystone XL pipeline would have on the public.
Environmentalist have argued that the construction of the pipeline that would transport oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries along the Gulf Coast could have a negative effect on public health since more fossil fuels would be burned and more carbon would be emitted.
“Based on the human health impacts that we do know about, building this pipeline is not in the national interest,” Boxer and Whitehouse wrote. “These impacts include the significantly higher levels of dangerous air pollutants and carcinogens found downwind from where tar sands oil is refined, the exposure to tar sands oil from pipeline spills, and the open disposal of the tar sands waste byproduct known as ‘pet coke’ that exposes communities to blowing black dust containing concentrated heavy metals.
“Only the completion of a separate comprehensive health analysis of tar sands oil and the Keystone XL pipeline can fully address these matters.”
The administration still hasn’t approved the construction of the pipeline despite calls from some vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in November.
Republicans have accused President Obama of catering to the far-left of his party by delaying the project that would create jobs in a lagging economy.