Factbox: Keystone Pipeline

The New York Daily News reports actress Daryl Hannah and NASA climatologist James Hansen, among others, were arrested Tuesday for protesting the Keystone pipeline proposal outside of the White House. In light of the arrests and controversy, here are some notable facts about the pipeline.

* The Keystone pipeline system, which is 2,147 miles long, is set to run synthetic crude oil from northeastern Alberta, Canada, to major oil refineries in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

* The Keystone XL project is an extension of the pipeline that would run 1,980 miles into Texas and the U.S. area bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The Keystone XL extension will originate from the same starting point in Alberta, Canada.

* The Keystone pipeline is projected to bring in about 435,000 barrels of oil each day and eventually go up to about 590,000 barrels daily.

* The project would cost $5.2 billion. The Keystone XL project to extend the pipeline would cost about $7 billion.

* Once the project is complete it would provide 5 percent of the petroleum needs of the United States and represent about 9 percent of U.S. petroleum imports.

* The TransCanada Corporation first proposed the project in 2005. In October 2007 the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada asked the Canadian government to block the project, citing it would only benefit U.S. companies.

* In March 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued a presidential permit allowing the construction of the Keystone pipeline and allowing the operation and maintenance of the facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border.

* In January 2008, ConocoPhillips bought a 50 percent stake in the oil pipeline but the company was bought out by TransCanada so it would be the sole owner of the pipeline. The pipeline then became operational in June 2010.

* 50 members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposing the Keystone oil pipeline in June 2010. The 50 members cited that it would undermine the interest of the United States trying to move toward clean energy.

* The main concern from the Keystone project is that it could pollute water and the air. There is also a concern that it would hurt birds and other wildlife; if there was a leak, it would spell devastation environmentally and economically for the United States and Canada.

* In May, the pipeline was forced to shut down following the second leak found within a month. The leaks could have spelled disaster if they had gone out of control and could have had negative impacts on the environment.

* House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman wrote a letter in July 2010 trying to persuade the State Department to block the project. Waxman cited that it would continue the country’s reliance on oil, which is one of the dirtiest resources on the planet, and would hurt clean energy projects.

* In August, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final report on the project and found that no substantial environmental impact would come from it. The possibility of a negative environmental impact, however, would be present if procedural measures were not followed correctly. The final decision on the matter is due out by the end of the year.

Corky Siemaszko, “Actress Daryl Hannah arrested outside White House protesting Canada’s Keystone oil pipeline”, New York Daily News

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