AirTalk for February 4, 2014

Should the US allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline?

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

People demonstrate against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline near the hotel where US President Barack Obama is to address the Wall Street Journal CEO Council on November 19, 2013 in Washington.

A new report from the State Department released on February 1 says that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly worsen carbon pollution. The State Department findings potentially pave the way for President Obama to make a decision about the expansion of the TransCanada pipeline. 

The project would pipe oil extracted from tar sand through six states - 1,700 miles - to refineries in Texas. The State Department report concludes that the impact to carbon emissions is not significant compared to the emissions already coming from extraction and rail transport.

Environmental groups argue that the pipeline, even with several thousand data points and advanced mechanisms for halting the flow of oil, could have serious negative impacts on the sensitive areas surrounding the route.

Pipeline proponents argue that extraction will occur with or without the pipeline due to high demand for oil and emphasize the importance of job creation. Energy companies are already transporting crude oil by rail.

What would the Keystone XL pipeline do to nearby communities? Is this the most economically viable and efficient plan? Which energy sources should the U.S. be investing in? 

Guests: 

Andrew Restuccia, Energy Reporter for POLITICO

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council

Cindy Schild, Senior Manager of the Refining and Oil Sands Programs at the American Petroleum Institute


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