A State Department report issued by the Obama administration understated the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from train derailments which would occur if the Keystone XL pipeline project isn’t approved.
Supporters of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline seized on recent news from the US State Department, which found that transporting Canadian crude oil by railcar is likely to be more dangerous than previously reported.
The department on Friday issued corrections to its earlier impact study of the 1,700-mile-long pipeline. In January, it said that if the Keystone XL wasn’t built, then oil companies would instead move their crude by rail—a situation that could contribute to 49 injuries and 6 deaths over 10 years. Now, the State Department estimates that rail transport could lead to 189 injuries and 28 deaths over a decade, Reuters reported.
Officials said the January report mistakenly used a forecast for three months of expected rail accidents, rather than figures for the entire year, Reuters noted.
Back in January Senator John Hoeven said the issue of rail safety was putting “more pressure on [Obama] to approve” the Keystone pipeline.
Certainly oil train derailments around the country have made headlines, and spurred worries from those living in communities near railroads. Pipelines are a safer alternative to oil by rail shipments, and so it’s fair to point out that obstructing pipeline infrastructure means more risk of harm from train derailments.