UPDATE 1-US Senators raise concerns on oil sands pipeline

* State needs to answer questions on pipeline-Senators

* State should not pre-judge outcome on project-lawmakers

* Other lawmakers have also raised concerns on pipeline

(Adds comment from environnmental group, paragraph 12)

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Nearly a dozen U.S. Senators
on Friday raised questions about the need for a proposed $7
billion pipeline that they said will bring “dirty oil” from
Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries and significantly
increase the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The lawmakers, 10 Democrats and one independent, said the
State Department needs to answer several key questions before
deciding whether to approve TransCanada’s (TRP.TO: ) application
to build the 2,000-mile Keystone XL pipeline.

“Approval of this pipeline will significantly increase our
dependence on this oil for decades,” the senators said in a
letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We believe the Department of State should not pre-judge
the outcome of what should be a thorough, transparent analysis
of the need for this oil and its impacts on our climate and
clean energy goals,” the letter said.

Led by Democrats Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, and Jeff
Merkley, of Oregon, the letter said the department should
examine whether greater use of fuel-efficient technologies and
advanced biofuels could offset the need for the pipeline.

The department should also consider whether expanded use of
oil sands crude will harm U.S. attempts to reduce oil
consumption, the lawmakers said.

This is the latest in a series of critiques that various
lawmakers have lobbed at State as the department considers
whether to greenlight the Keystone project, which is expected
transport 510,000 barrels per day of crude from Alberta to the
U.S. Gulf coast. [ID:nN06111247]

Clinton angered some lawmakers and environmental groups
this month when she said her department was “inclined” to
approve the pipeline because of energy security issues.

A senior State Department official told Reuters this week
that no final decision had been made and that input from the
Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies
would be fully weighed. [ID:nN27272674]

Critics of the pipeline say it threatens the environment
and will boost U.S. dependence on a dirty fossil fuel instead
of moving toward renewable energy sources. Canada’s oil sands,
the largest source of crude outside the Middle East, use open
pit mines and processing plants that emit carbon dioxide.

Crude produced from oil sands emits more carbon over its
life cycle than other oil burned in the United States, but
experts disagree on how much more.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is an environmental disaster in
the making,” said Alex Moore, of green group Friends of the
Earth. “The threat of spills…and the additional air and water
pollution it would unquestionably make this pipeline dangerous
for people all along its path.”

Supporters say the project will ensure a stable source of
oil and lessen dependence on oil from the Middle East and
Venezuela.

Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns and other Nebraska officials
have raised concerns about the pipeline’s proposed route
through the Ogallala aquifer. [ID:nN20272836]

The group of Senators led by Leahy and Merkley also asked
whether the department had considered what impact the pipeline
would have on the water reservoir, which spans eight states and
yields nearly a third of water for U.S. irrigation.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by David Gregorio)

UPDATE 1-US Senators raise concerns on oil sands pipeline