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Green groups are reeling after the release of a draft State Department report that seemed to put the Keystone XL oil pipeline on track for approval.
Opponents of Keystone are furious at State’s environmental assessment of the project, which brushed aside of one of their central arguments against it: namely, that it would exacerbate clime change by expanding the use of oil sands.
“The State Department’s conclusions are so off-base that they’re borderline absurd,” Daniel Kessler, a spokesman with climate group 350.org, told The Hill.
Environmental groups vowed they would continue to pressure President Obama to kill the pipeline, but acknowledged the blow that Friday’s report delivered to their cause.
“In terms of the politics, it’s just astounding that this report comes out and you get glowing statements from the American Petroleum Institute, [Speaker] John Boehner [(R-Ohio)] and the politicians who get the most money from Big Oil,” said Lena Moffitt, a Washington representative with the Sierra Club.
The State Department’s report found that the Canada-to-Texas pipeline would have little effect on accelerating oil sands production and climate change.
“Approval or denial of the proposed project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area,” the report said.
The assessment is not final, but could indicate the arguments in favor of the pipeline are winning the day within the administration.