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Goldman Sachs Report Fires Up Anti-Oil Pipeline Forces

A research report from Goldman Sachs was touted Monday as further support for why the U.S. State Department should reject the proposed northern portion of the TransCanada Corp. multi-billion-dollar 1,700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline stretching from Alberta Canada to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

The Goldman report, "Getting oil out of Canada: Heavy oil diffs expected to stay wide and volatile," predicts that further delays in U.S. approval of the Keystone XL northern project and an expansion of another pipeline, the Alberta Clipper, in Canada would increase the risk that western Canadian oilsands supplies "would remain trapped in Alberta."

"It runs completely counter to a point incorrectly made in the State Department's draft environmental impact study, that the pipeline has no impact on tar sands related impacts," said a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which called attention to the Wall Street analysis.

As NRDC and the group Oil Change International were summarizing Goldman's work, Friends of the Earth said it would hold a conference call from Washington, DC, Tuesday to call for an investigation by the State Department investigator general to examine what they alleged has been a flawed review process of the Keystone XL project.

The environmental groups contend that they have compiled signatures on a petition urging Secretary of State John Kerry to postpone the final environmental impact statement (EIS) until after the investigator general has completed a thorough review.

Environmentalists are contending that Environmental Resources Management, a company contracted by the State Department and paid by TransCanada to draft the EIS, is a member of the American Petroleum Institute and has worked for the oil industry.

NRDC and Oil Change contend that the State Department draft EIS concluded that "approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed [Keystone] project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction of oilsands..." The Goldman Sachs report allegedly completely refutes this conclusion.

A draft supplement EIS was issued in early March, and since then proponents and opponents have been pitching their opinions on the controversial project (see Shale Daily, March 4).

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