Feds increase projected deaths from rejecting Keystone

The State Department corrected a January report on the Keystone XL pipeline and quadrupled the number of deaths that could be caused if the pipeline proposal is rejected.

The department now estimates that 18 to 30 people would be killed each year from the increase in oil shipments by rail if Keystone were not built, Reuters reported. The department had forecast six deaths in January, but later realized it only used a three-month time frame.

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The corrections do not have an impact on the integrity of the January report, which found little environmental consequence from approving the last segment of the pipeline from Alberta, Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast, Reuters said. The Obama administration still has not decided whether to approve the project.

Friday’s corrections also decreased the amount of electricity that pumping stations along the pipeline would have to use, recognizing that lower amounts of oil would require less energy. That did not change the environmental impact of the project, the department said.

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that errors and corrections such as those announced Friday are common in major government reports.