Following US Lead, Canadian Officials Go Mum on How New Pipelines Fuel Tar Sands Expansion

Before a US State Department draft review came along earlier this year claiming that construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would have no impact one way or the other on expansion of tar sands mining operations in Alberta, it was standard practice—indeed, part of the sales pitch—for Canadian officials to argue that building Keystone, and the export pipeline network in general, was essential for continued growth of the mining.

In the aftermath of that draft assessment, however, the same officials in Canada who once argued strenuously for the pipeline to be built in order to “grow” production went conspicuously silent on the issue.

According to internal Canadian government documents obtained by the Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental think tank and advocacy group, and reporting from the New York Times, what seems like coded silence, probably is.

As the New York Times reports:

In other words, it no longer makes sense for the Harper government to claim the Keystone will have an impact on expansion, so they’ve decided to just drop the talking point from their portfolio.

As previous Common Dreams reporting has documented (here, here and here), the draft version of the US State Department’s environmental impact statement (known as an SEIS) has been slammed by environmental groups and experts for numerous and varied reason since it was released earlier this year.

A final version of the SEIS is expected this fall or perhaps even in early 2014.

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