February 3, 2014 10:20 AM, EST
Keystone XL Pipeline Won’t Worsen Climate Change, Federal Report Says
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

A report by the U.S. State Department found that the proposed Keystone XL Canada-U.S. oil pipeline would not increase carbon emissions because the oil sands in Alberta will be developed anyway.

The report is the final environmental review by the State Department. It is important because President Obama has said he would not approve the pipeline if it would increase carbon pollution, Bloomberg News reported.

“We are one step closer toward approval of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), a pipeline supporter, said in a statement. “Not only is it unacceptable, but it’s embarrassing that we cannot approve a pipeline application in the time it took us to fight World War II.”

Environmental groups in states along the U.S. route have said the pipeline could cause damage, especially in the case of a spill. Internationally, environmentalists have said the drilling methods used in extracting oil from the Canadian tar sands produces unacceptable levels of greenhouse-gas emissions.

The $5.4 billion project by TransCanada Corp. is expected to have an 830,000-barrel-a-day capacity and would connect the oil sands of Alberta with refineries in Texas and Louisiana, Bloomberg reported.

The State Department said it will accept public comments until March 7, and other federal agencies will have 90 days to weigh in.