Dakota Pipeline greenlighted as fossil fuels move to fore

Climate Central reports: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cancelling an environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline and will grant approval of an easement that allows the final link in the pipeline to be constructed.

The decision on Tuesday makes good on President Trump’s executive order advancing the controversial project, which has been the subject of months of protests at the construction site in North Dakota.

The Obama administration shelved or postponed both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines because of public outcry about their environmental, cultural and climate impacts.

Though they will tap different oil fields, both pipelines will have a measureable effect on the climate because they will make it cheaper and easier to send crude oil to refineries — fuel that will reach consumers’ gasoline tanks in the U.S. and abroad.

In the U.S., the use of crude oil for transportation is now a larger source of the carbon dioxide emissions driving climate change than electric power generation, which has long been the country’s largest source of climate pollution.

Building oil pipelines may help companies tap more oil, but to prevent global warming from exceeding levels that scientists consider dangerous — 2°C (3.6°F) over pre-industrial levels — at least one-third of the world’s oil deposits need to remain untapped, said Jonathan Koomey, an earth systems scientist at Stanford University.

“Anything that makes extraction and transportation of oil easier and cheaper like building more pipelines to landlocked high-emissions oil sands, makes it harder to achieve that goal,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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