The Obama administration has proposed a $5 billion pipeline that would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast and then across the Gulf to Texas.
But that pipeline, the Keystone XL, has been a hot topic since President Donald Trump took office, with activists and opponents of the project, as well as the US and Canada, already fighting over the pipeline’s impacts.
The White House and the US Environmental Protection Agency have both been working to resolve the issue of pipeline construction and safety.
In a joint statement, the EPA and the EPA announced Thursday that they had reached a compromise on a safety assessment for the pipeline.
The agreement commits the EPA to undertake a study of pipeline safety, and will include “a comprehensive review of pipeline conditions, environmental, and other conditions, and a risk analysis of any changes to the project.”
The Keystone XL is expected to carry between 930,000 and 1.2 million barrels per day of oil per day, or a bit over a million barrels a day per day.
The EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers have said the project could carry as much as 12 million barrels of oil a day.
Trump and some of his supporters, including Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, have said that the pipeline should be built because it would be cheaper and easier to produce oil and that it would make it cheaper for Americans to buy it.
In his confirmation hearing before the Senate last month, Lankford told senators that he did not oppose the pipeline because of the environmental concerns but said he supported it because it was “the most environmentally sound project” and that the US “has the ability to bring it back to the marketplace.”
Trump’s administration has made it clear that the Keystone project will not go forward without environmental assessments of the pipeline and the safety of the tar sands oil it carries.
As part of its approval process, the pipeline will also need to be subject to a rigorous environmental impact statement, which the EPA will then conduct.
The EPA and EPA will also be conducting a public health and safety assessment of the oil pipeline.