Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Department to rely on its own extensive scientific analysis and not let political intervention influence its decision on whether or not to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

On June 25, 2013 President Obama stated in a speech that allowing the Keystone Pipeline to be built requires a finding that the project would not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” The State Department’s most recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the Keystone XL Pipeline “is not likely to impact the amount of crude oil produced from the oil sands” and that “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.” 

Chairman Smith: “These conclusions clearly indicate that the proposed project would not ‘significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution’ or have a net effect on the climate. In applying the President’s new climate-centered approval criteria for the Keystone XL Pipeline, I urge the Department to rely upon sound science informed by its own extensive record and analysis, and prevent political intervention from influencing its decision.”

The Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on May 7, 2013 to examine the scientific and environmental issues behind the Keystone XL Pipeline. The hearing found that after over four years of review, the State Department’s conclusions were based on the best available science and clearly indicated that the proposed project would have “no significant impact to most resources along the proposed route.” Expert testimony presented at the hearing concluded that even under the most extreme emissions scenario, which EPA has argued was excluded from the State Department’s analysis, the change in global average temperature would still be minimal.  Under this scenario, the total change resulting from additional carbon dioxide emissions would be about 0.00001°C per year.

The full letter can be found HERE.