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Keystone XL Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What impact will the Keystone XL pipeline have on the environment?

A: Minimal.  The U.S. State Department has conducted two evaluations focusing on the environmental impact of the pipeline.  In fact, the studies found KXL will be less invasive than if oil was transported by rail car or barge.  The pipeline’s pumping stations are powered by electric motors which have little direct emissions when in operation.

Q: What about Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

A: The U.S. State Department found the Keystone XL project would not cause 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,” meaning the project would not have a direct effect on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production and consumption of oil.

Q: Is Keystone XL Safe?

A: TransCanada which operates the Keystone pipeline system has agreed to an additional 57 safety requirements and has routed the pipeline to avoid any potentially environmentally sensitive areas. In the United States,

over 170,000 miles of liquid pipelines transport 11.3 billion barrels of petroleum each year. American pipelines maintain, by far, the lowest spill rate per volume than any other transport method available.

Q: Will building a new pipeline impact gasoline prices?

A:  Keystone XL will provide U.S. refineries with upwards of 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day increasing the overall supply of oil.  According to an assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy, gasoline prices in all markets served by PADD I (Northeast) and PADD III (Gulf Coast) refineries would decrease, including Midwest consumers. This stable, long-term supply will make the U.S. more energy self sufficient and help mitigate supply disruptions, like those caused by storms or political turmoil, have on prices. This ultimately means greater price stability for American consumers.

Q: Will oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline be exported to China.

A: Not likely.  The United States already imports oil from Canada.  The Keystone XL pipeline will increase the amount imported by approximately 830,000 barrels a day as well as bringing online new sources from the Bakken formation in North Dakota to be refined on the Gulf Coast.  Oil is then refined into gasoline and distributed to gas stations throughout the United States.  The U.S. State Department analysis of Keystone XL determined high transportation costs of shipping oil, or a refined product such as gasoline, diesel or aviation fuel, through the Panama Canal to Asia would make exporting to China unlikely.

Q: Is oil corrosive?

A: Keystone XL will ship a wide variety of crude oil types including conventional oil, shale oil, partially upgraded synthetic oil and oil sands derived bitumen blends including diluted bitumen. According to a 2013 report by the National Academy of Sciences, “diluted bitumen has no greater likelihood of accidental pipeline release than other crude oils” that pipelines already transport every day across America.. These products have shipped and are currently being shipped across to the United States via other cross‐border pipelines from Canada. It would be an uneconomic business proposition to spend billions of dollars constructing a pipeline system that would be destroyed by the product it transports.

Q: The Keystone XL pipeline will harm the environmentally sensitive Nebraska Sandhills.

A: The State of Nebraska worked with the U.S. Department of State and TransCanada to route the pipeline around the Sandhills.