New Pipeline Safety Report Confirms Safety of Keystone XL

June 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Academy of Sciences today released its study on “Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines” that was required as part of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Jobs Creation Act of 2011, which incorporated language approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee. The report found no evidence that diluted bitumen, the type crude oil that would flow through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is more likely to contribute to pipeline failures or corrosion.

The report found:

  • No evidence of causes of pipeline failure unique to shipments of diluted bitumen.
  • No evidence of chemical or physical properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of other crude oil shipments.
  • No evidence of unique or extreme properties that make diluted bitumen shipments more likely to cause internal corrosion or erosion.
  • No evidence of properties that make diluted bitumen shipments more likely to cause external corrosion and cracking or to cause damage from mechanical forces.
  • Pipeline operating and maintenance practices are the same for shipments of diluted bitumen and shipments of other similar crude oils.

“In an attempt to block the pipeline’s construction, Keystone opponents have claimed that diluted bitumen is more dangerous than other types of crude oil, but this study from the National Academy of Sciences proves these allegations are decidedly false,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Spills like the one that affected the Kalamazoo River occurred not because of the type of oil in the pipeline, but because of failures by the pipeline operators – something that we will not tolerate, and that we clamped down on with last year’s legislation to force tougher penalties and earlier warnings. The Keystone XL pipeline will incorporate these and additional safety standards, making it the country’s safest pipeline to date.”

“This reconfirms what we already knew, the oil from the oil sands is not a threat to pipeline safety. Keystone XL, as the safest most highly engineered pipeline built to date, will be the gold standard of pipeline safety,” said Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), author of House-passed legislation to build the pipeline. “There is no reason why we can't get this done and with thousands of jobs at stake, Majority Leader Reid needs to bring H.R. 3 to the Senate floor for a vote.”

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