Last Friday, the U.S. State Department released its final environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, thrusting the controversial project back into the news and reigniting a long-simmering debate. 

The final EIS gave ammunition to both sides of the debate over the proposed 1,179 pipeline which would like Alberta’s tar sands with American refineries and export terminals in the Gulf Coast.

The report’s headline conclusion: approval or denial of the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant impact" on the rate of Canadian tar sands extraction. That's because, under what the report's authors consider the most likely assumptions, oil from the tar sands will find its way to market with or without the Keystone project. 

But the report also concluded that, depending on assumptions, the 830,000 barrel per day pipeline could cause an extra 1.3 million to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. That's the equivalent of putting an extra 250,000 to 5.5 million cars on the road, more than enough carbon to give climate advocates Aammunition in the debate as well.

All week, this debate has been playing out across the pages of TheEnergyCollective.com:

In a special #EnergyChat video broadcast on Wednesday, a panels of experts continued the about Keystone XL and dug into its implications for climate change, energy markets, and national politics.

Joining me in the video chat were Elana Schor, a reporter with Environment & Energy Publishing who has followed the pipeline debate closely for the past several years, Geoff Styles, a 22 year veteran of the oil and gas industry, managing director of GSW Strategies and a longtime Energy Collective contributor, and Daniel Kessler a climate activist who has helped shape communications on the Keystone pipeline with 350.org and Greenpeace International, and is now Communications Director at the Climate Action Lab in Berkeley, California.


The #EnergyChat video
sparked a vibrant and ongoing discussion across Energy Collective communities on Google Plus, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and I encourage our readers to continue that conversation here in the comments...

  • Should President Obama reject or approve the controversial pipeline?

  • Is Keystone XL in America’s national interest?

  • And what are it’s implications for global climate change, North American energy markets, and national politics?

Weigh in below and keep the #EnergyChat going!