A Gaping Climate Blind Spot
The United States has a gaping climate blind spot, and PEER is asking the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to step in to help change that. At 800 miles long, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is one of the world’s largest pipeline systems, transporting about 4% of the nation’s crude oil supply from Prudhoe Bay, North Slope, to Valdez to load on tankers. However, in the last 20 years, the federal government has not analyzed TAPS’ impact on climate change or how climate change affects or will affect its maintenance costs, reliability, or ecological footprint.
This is an urgent issue that the United States must start addressing. Climate change is seriously impacting the safety and integrity of TAPS even as TAPS is responsible for more than 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, a number that could grow. Yet documents obtained by PEER through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, astonishingly, the federal government has yet to consider these critical issues.
To address this lack of foresight, PEER sent a letter to the chair of CEQ, Brenda Mallory, requesting intervention to jump-start the moribund environmental review process for the TAPS. A coherent national climate plan must include consideration of how much longer TAPS will operate, as well as what type, and how much Alaskan oil crude it will carry.
TAPS is an integral part of the existential threat posed by climate change. We are determined to ensure the federal government addresses it. To learn more about our climate work, visit our website.
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