"EPA Seeks Expanded Review of Proposed Oil Sands Pipeline"

"U.S. EPA raised significant concerns today with the environmental effects of a controversial $7 billion pipeline proposal, emboldening the plan's critics and upping the ante for political clashes over Canadian oil sands crude that risk derailing the project for good.

Green groups and other foes of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would nearly double U.S. imports of Canadian oil sands crude if approved, had looked to EPA for the strongest possible judgment of a supplemental environmental review released by the State Department in April. Those hopes were mostly answered in a letter unveiled today that rates State's extra review as "insufficient" and asks for more analysis of the emissions, environmental justice and safety impacts of the pipeline.

In her letter to State, EPA enforcement chief Cynthia Giles pointed to last year's 800,000-gallon oil spill in Michigan in seeking more data on the chemical diluents added to the Canadian crude before its transport in the pipeline -- substances whose identity could be considered "proprietary information," according to the April environmental review."

Elana Schor reports for Greenwire June 7, 2011.

Thursday, June 9, 2011