The report downplayed the potential for alternative pipelines or rail to bring enough crude to market to match Keystone’s impact on oil sands growth.
The pipeline’s backers in industry and on Capitol Hill, however, contend that demand is strong enough to bring oil sands out of the ground with or without Keystone.
They’ve pointed to a draft State Department environmental report that said much of the same. That report also concluded Keystone wouldn’t substantially boost greenhouse gas emissions.
But green groups contend the contractor who conducted that report for State, which is reviewing the pipeline for a cross-border permit, had a conflict of interest.
The State Department’s internal watchdog is currently looking into that. It has opened an inquiry to see whether Foggy Bottom installed procedures outlined in a 2012 report to weed out contractors with a conflict of interest.