By Timothy Cama - 07/31/14 01:04 PM EDT
New developments since the State Department’s environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline show that it should not be approved, 12 environmental groups said.
The green groups said the government did not properly account for these changes when it last month revised the environmental review it had completed earlier in the year.
The groups include the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Bold Nebraska.
“Nevertheless, as the State Department considers corrections to analysis in the environmental review for Keystone XL, we request that you likewise assess new details that further confirm that the tar sands industry’s expansion plan is contingent on pipeline construction, particularly Keystone XL,” they said.
The State Department is charged with advising Obama on whether to approve the final leg of the pipeline, which is planned to run from Alberta, Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The department paused its consideration in April while a Nebraska court considers a case about the pipeline’s route there.
The green groups cited multiple developments in their letter: Canada’s oil industry cut its projection for the amount of oil that can be developed from the oil sands; two oil sands projects were canceled; moving oil by rail is proving to be more expensive than the State Department anticipated; and the economics of oil sands development are being adjusted.
“The evidence is clear, pipelines are essential to the planned expansion of the Canadian tar sands and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will stimulate the expansion of tar sands development,” the groups wrote.
TransCanada Corp., the company behind Keystone, called the letter a publicity stunt.
“The facts continue to support the approval and construction of Keystone XL,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in a statement. “We all rely on the product we will transport, pipelines remain the safest way to get it to the markets where they are needed, our customers remain firmly committed to the project and thousands of American men and women and their families are waiting for the work to begin.”