For Immediate Release

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Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351 or

EPA: Tar Sands, Keystone XL Would Be “Significant Increase” in Greenhouse Gas Pollution

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today that the development of tar sands oil that would be carried by the Keystone XL pipeline “represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions” with the potential to release up to 1.37 billion additional tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over 50 years. The EPA said it would be the pollution equivalent of adding 5.7 million passenger vehicles or 7.8 coal-fired power plants.

“The EPA’s message couldn’t be clearer: Keystone XL will drive us significantly deeper into the climate crisis,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The ball’s in President Obama’s court. He said he wouldn’t approve this disastrous pipeline if it significantly exacerbates the problem of carbon pollution. It’s time for him to keep his word.”

Extraction and refinement of tar sands oil produces twice as many greenhouse gases per barrel than conventional oil and represents a massive new source of fossil fuels that leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has called “game over” for our ability to avoid a climate catastrophe.

In June 2013 President Obama warned of the dangers of climate change and said Keystone would only be in the national interest if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

“The world’s scientists have been sounding the alarm that the climate crisis will have dire consequences unless we take significant action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Snape said. “The Obama administration’s own EPA says Keystone will take us in exactly the opposite direction. If we’re going to preserve a healthy, livable climate, it needs to start with rejecting Keystone XL.”


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