Check the Facts

Please also visit our RECENT NEWS page for even more information on the safety and benefits of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Also, for more facts about oil sands, visit the Oil Sands Fact Check website at


Safety and Environment

"A leak of the Keystone XL Pipeline would not affect the majority of the Ogallala Aquifer ... those who think that a leaking pipeline will destroy the aquifer in Nebraska need to understand that it would be localized to an area of 10's or 100's of feet around the pipeline. When people say the whole Ogallala Aquifer is at risk, THEY'RE WRONG."
-Prof. Jim Goeke, Hydrogeologist, University of Nebraska

Download a high-resolution map of the Ogallala Aquifer (pictured at right).


Fiction: Keystone XL will carry oil that is more corrosive and toxic than other types of crude oil.

Fact: Keystone XL will transport oil that is very similar to those already being transported and processed by other pipelines and refineries across the United States and have been for decades. In addition to Canadian crude oil, Keystone XL will transport crude oil from U.S. producers in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and North Dakota.

Fiction: Keystone XL poses a threat to public safety and the environment because it will use thinner steel.

Fact: The Keystone XL Pipeline will be the newest, strongest and most advanced pipeline in operation in North America. It uses the most advanced materials and technology, and each section of line is inspected before it even leaves the specialized mills where it is being made. The real issue is steel strength, and Keystone XL will still use stronger steel and operate at a lower pressure to help ensure public safety and protect the environment.

Fiction: All pipelines are unsafe.

Fact: Pipelines are the safest way to transport crude oil and petroleum products. Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil and petroleum products are safely transported on thousands of miles of pipelines in the U.S. The vast majority of pipeline leaks are small, with most involving less than three barrels, 80% of spills involve less than 50 barrels, and less than 0.5% of incidents total more than 10,000 barrels. To move the same volume of Keystone XL oil into the U.S. market would take a train that was 25 miles long each and every day. According to Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration in the U.S., for every pipeline incident that takes place, there are 50 railway incidents.

Fiction: Keystone XL doesn't have an emergency response plan.

Fact: Before beginning operations, Keystone XL will file an emergency response plan with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Keystone has filed emergency response plans in connection with Phase I and Phase II, which currently deliver crude oil to Illinois and Oklahoma. Our emergency response plans are approved by regulators, and we regularly test and practice the activation of these plans so in the event something does occur, we are ready to respond quickly and effectively.

Fiction: Local emergency responders are not equipped or trained to handle leaks or spills.

Fact: Keystone XL personnel would respond and manage clean-up operations should a spill or leak occur. Local personnel would be responsible for securing an incident site. Keystone XL will be monitored around-the-clock from a state-of-the art control center. It will have 16,000 data transmitters that monitor pipeline pressure and operating conditions. That data will be updated by secure satellite every five seconds. If there is even the slightest change in pressure, pipeline operators can close valves to isolate a suspected incident location within minutes.

Fiction: The oil in Keystone XL will be heated and damage the environment.

Fact: The oil will not be heated - period. Generally, oil in a line like this comes into the pipeline between 80-120°F, and it stays within that temperature range during transport. Changes in temperature (up and down) are the result of friction, the length of pipeline, the season and the transportation process, not heating elements or additives. The temperatures and pressures that Keystone XL will operate at are strictly monitored and regulated.


Business Practices

Fiction: Keystone XL has been bullying landowners.

Fact: That is not how TransCanada does business. Keystone XL extends TransCanada's commitment to treat landowners with respect and work with them in good faith. That commitment is reflected in the fact that we have successfully reached easement agreements with more than 80% of landowners on the route in Texas (as of February 2011). In addition, we have currently negotiated agreements with almost 93% of landowners who own/control almost 90% of the tracts of land along the entire pipeline route.
During our 60-year history of safely meeting American's energy needs, we have developed positive relationships with more than 40,000 landowners in North America. We meet face-to-face with landowners to understand their specific needs and address their concerns. We work hard to be a good neighbor.

Fiction: Keystone XL is "taking" property from landowners.

Fact: Keystone XL will not "take" property or acquire ownership of land. Keystone XL will provide compensation to landowners for a temporary easement for pipeline construction and a permanent easement for the pipeline route. In exchange, we provide landowners with fair compensation, based on how much of their property that the pipeline passes through and current market value. Landowners retain possession of their property and will continue to use it as they had previously.

Fiction: Keystone XL isn't needed.

Fact: A project of Keystone's magnitude can only be undertaken when there is sufficient demand, need and commitment in the U.S. marketplace. Clearly there is. The Keystone Pipeline System has secured long-term contracts with shippers averaging 18 years in length and equal approximately one million barrels per day. According to the Energy Policy Research Foundation (EPRINC), "because of production declines in Mexico and Venezuela, U.S. refiners are receiving reduced shipments of heavy crudes. many of whom long ago made expensive upgrades in complex facilities that favor heavy oil. Additionally, TransCanada is looking to expand the Keystone XL capability by offering Bakken oil producers, located in Montana and North Dakota a chance to link into the pipeline and send their crude to the Gulf Coast refineries for the first time."


Economic Development

Fiction: Keystone XL doesn't benefit the U.S.

Fact: Keystone Xl will bring significant economic benefits to Americans during construction and operations:

  • private sector investment of more than $20 billion in the U.S. economy – at no cost to American taxpayers (food, lodging, fuel, vehicles, equipment, and other construction supplies and services),
  • create about 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, which will increase the personal income of American workers by $6.5 billion,
  • generate more than $585 million in new taxes for states and communities along the pipeline route,
  • pay more than $5.2 billion in property taxes during the operating life of the pipeline, and
  • strengthen America's energy security by increasing the supply of safe, secure and reliable oil from Canadian and American oil fields.

Fiction: The crude oil Keystone XL will transport will be put on tankers and sent to China.

Fact: The crude oil Keystone XL will transport will not be shipped to China; it will be refined at U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast to meet American demand for petroleum products.

Fiction: Keystone XL will increase gasoline prices.

Fact: TransCanada does not set oil or gas prices. In fact, the price of international oil prices has no impact on the operation of our pipeline and we do not profit from changing market changes. Prices are set on a global level. Today, for example, oil that is imported and sold on the U.S. Gulf Coast is trading for just over $102 U.S. per barrel. Western Canadian oil is currently trading for $68 U.S. per barrel. So in addition to enhancing America's energy security, the price to acquire Canadian oil is much lower.



See also:

Cornell Study Ties to Extremist Green Movement Exposed!

It Is Not Possible for a Crude Oil Spill to Threaten the Viability of the Ogallala Aquifer

Friends of the Earth's False Claims about Keystone XL Pipeline and 91 Spills

Facts and Benefits of the Pipeline for Nebraska

Pipeline Construction in Sandhills Native Rangelands

TransCanada: A Good Neighbor in Nebraska

American Energy Security