OPAL Pipeline To Connect To Baltic Sea

In a hearing about the Keystone XL Pipeline on Capitol Hill last week, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune provided testimony that argued against building the pipeline. Brune’s statements were immediately disputed by pipeline supporters.

One of the main issues that has emerged as part of the pipeline debate is whether the oil transport system would negatively impact climate change by facilitating Canadian oil sands development. Despite being analyzed in detail for years, a wealth of disagreement on the issue remains.

Here’s what Oil Sands Fact Check had to say about Brune’s claims:

Brune Claim #1:Clearly, the Keystone XL fails this ‘climate test’ because the tar sands fail it.”

FACT: Brune and his anti-Keystone XL allies must be feeling pretty lonely on that argument.  The State Department has, for the fifth time in five years, found that Keystone XL will have a negligible effect on the environment, therefore passing the president’s climate test.  And let’s not forget what energy and climate experts, as well as our nation’s top regulators have had to say:

  • David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California: “As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time. But as a strategy for arousing passion, it is dynamite.”
  • David Keith, climate scientist at Harvard: “The extreme statements – that this is ‘game over’ for the planet – are clearly not intellectually true…”
  • Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at Council on Foreign Relations:  “And despite fears by climate change activists that increased oil sand production has profoundly negative consequences to global warming, Alberta’s massive reserve base contributes relatively little to the problem at a global scale.”
  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Keystone XL: “We have been making great strides forward.  No one project is going to take that away from us, but we are going to keep building on that success moving forward.”
  • Fatih Birol chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA): “…but the difference in getting oil from oil sands when compared to conventional oil, it is such a small contribution that it will be definitely wrong to highlight this as a major source of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.”

You can read Brune’s testimony here:

Brune Testimony