WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Given the recent trend in climate-linked catastrophes, approval for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should be withheld, a U.S. lawmaker said.
U.S. Rep Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said a report from Pembina Institute and Oil Change International suggests the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada may lead to more harmful emissions.
"After Hurricane Sandy, devastating drought, unprecedented wildfires, and the warmest year on record in the United States, we know that climate change is happening now, we have to fight it now, and we must say no to this pollution pipeline now," he said in a statement.
Sandy, a late 2012 storm, was said to have formed over an Atlantic Ocean that was unseasonably warm. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, meanwhile, found that, for the Lower 48 states, 2012 was warmer than the average recorded during the 20th century. Last year also recorded the fourth-warmest winter and the second-warmest summer on record.
TransCanada aims to build the pipeline to deliver more Canadian crude oil to the U.S. refinery market. The company explains that safety is a top priority for the project.
The report that's critical of Keystone XL finds that existing research into so-called tar sands fails to take into account emissions related to a refinery byproduct called petroleum coke, or petcoke. The report states that petcoke would result in 13 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than the U.S. government had previously considered for Keystone XL.
Keystone XL needs federal approval because it would cross the Canadian border with the United States. TransCanada is proceeding already with the Gulf Coast Project, the U.S.-leg of the pipeline.