By Renee Schoof (Star-Telegram/McClatchy) At the climate talks under way in Cancun, Mexico, the U.S. has assured the world it's not backing away from its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, however, the State Department looks likely to approve a pipeline that would increase the use of one of the dirtiest forms of oil.
That oil would flow from Canada's oil sands in Alberta, where the northern forest is cut so that giant trucks can scrape up black sand containing bitumen, an extra-heavy crude. The Environmental Protection Agency figures that bitumen requires so much energy to extract and refine that it produces 82 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than average U.S. crude from the time it's mined until it ends up in a car's gasoline tank.
...The new pipeline would bring oil sands crude from Alberta through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, where it would end up in terminals on the Gulf Coast.
...The EPA, in a letter last summer to the State Department about Keystone XL, urged the State Department to take other possible future trends into account when it decides whether the pipeline is needed, including the use of fuel-efficient technologies, advanced biofuels and electric vehicles.
The American Petroleum Institute announced Wednesday that it would launch an ad campaign in January in support of oil sands development. READ MORE