Despite calculating an expected 1.18 - 1.83 major spills annually, the State Department suggested on Friday, with its release of an expected environmental impact statement, that the proposed tar sands Keystone XL pipeline would pose minor environmental risks if managed properly.
TransCanada, the company seeking to develop the tar sands project has already experienced fourteen spills—including one major oil spill—on existing Keystone pipelines since beginning operation in June 2010.
The recent report comes in the aftermath of an earlier report that was criticized by the EPA for failing to consider important environmental and human health impacts. The EPA plans to review the latest report and determine whether it adequately addresses concerns raised over the pipeline’s impacts on air quality, drinking water, endangered species, and low-income and minority communities.
Following its release, the report is subject to a 90-day public commenting period, in which the public has the opportunity to weigh in. The Obama Administration has scheduled nine public meetings around the country in the coming months to discuss the issue further.
Information on the public meetings is available here.