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Dirty Tar Sands Oil Flows to South's Refineries Despite Keystone XL Rejection

Refineries across the U.S. that are processing dirty tar sands oil from Canada. (Map from the report "Tar Sands Refineries: Communities at Risk" by Forest Ethics)

Year in which TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline carrying carbon-heavy tar sands oil from Canada to the United States was approved by the Bush administration: 2008

Year in which the first phase of the pipeline, from eastern Alberta to Nebraska and then on to Illinois, was completed: 2010

Year in which the second phase, from Nebraska to Oklahoma, was completed: 2011

Year of completion for the third phase, known as the Gulf Coast Extension and running from Oklahoma to refineries at Port Arthur, Texas: 2014

Year in which another piece of the Gulf Coast Extension, connecting to refineries in Houston, is expected to begin operating: 2016

Date on which President Obama, citing concerns about climate change, rejected the fourth phase of the project, known as the Keystone XL, which would have essentially duplicated the initial phase between Alberta and Nebraska: 11/6/2015

Percent more greenhouse gas emissions produced from an average gallon of tar sands oil than from conventional crude: 14 to 37

Number of times higher emissions are from extracting and refining tar sands oil than conventional oil: 3.2 to 4.5

Effect the Keystone XL cancellation is expected to have on the amount of tar sands oil flowing from Canada to the U.S.: little

Barrels of tar sands oil flowing to the U.S. Gulf Coast every day through another existing pipeline system operated by the Canadian company Enbridge: 450,000

Following a planned expansion of the Enbridge system, barrels of tar sands oil that could be flowing to the U.S. Gulf Coast daily : 800,000

Amount Enbridge is investing in storage infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast for the increased amount of tar sands oil expected to flow there: $5 billion

As of 2008, portion of planned expansion of U.S. refining capacity intended to accommodate dirtier tar sands oil, the refining of which produces more sulfur dioxide pollution linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems: 2/3

Percent greater cancer risk African Americans and Latinos face from refinery pollution than the general population: 33

Percent greater cancer risk people living below the poverty line face from refinery pollution: 35

(Click on figure to go to source.)

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Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

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