by January 31, 2014 3:20 PM Correction Jan. 31, 2014 A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Natural Resources Defense Council as the National Resources Defense Council.
Pipefitters work on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline’s southern portion outside Tulsa, Okla., last January.
The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.
In the on the controversial pipeline, the department takes no position on whether it should be built but notes that tar-sand crude produces 17 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude and as much as 10 percent more than heavy crude.
“This is only one piece of the information that we’ll be considering going forward,” State Department Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones tells NPR’s Elizabeth Shogren.
The project has long been a lightning rod, not only for relations between Washington and Ottawa but within the U.S., where many conservatives say the project will create jobs, while others fear it will hurt the environment.
Reuters says the report reaffirms the idea that bituminous oil sand reserves require more energy to produce and process, and therefore result in higher emissions of greenhouse gases:
“But after extensive economic modeling, it also found that the line itself would not slow or accelerate the development of billions of barrels of reserves that environmentalists say would exacerbate global warming.”