REFILE-U.S. corrects Keystone study estimate of rail deaths, other errors

Fri Jun 6, 2014 4:26pm EDT
 
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(Refiles to fix date in dateline)

By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Friday corrected several errors it made in a key study evaluating the impact of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, including an understatement of how many people could be killed on railroad tracks if the project were rejected and oil traffic by rail increased.

The department said, however, these corrections had "no impact" on the integrity of the conclusions of the January report, which played down potential environmental consequences of TransCanada Corp's Canada-to-Texas project.

The Obama administration has not yet decided whether to approve the project.

The January report determined that blocking the controversial pipeline could increase oil train traffic and lead to an additional 49 injuries and six deaths per year, mostly by using historical injury and fatality statistics for railways.

That finding was a small element of a broader examination of how building the pipeline could impact climate change, endangered species, quality of life and other issues.

But the report mistakenly used a forecast for three months of expected accidents rather than full-year figures, officials said. The correct estimate of deaths should be roughly four times as large - between 18 and 30 fatalities per year.

Officials also revised a footnoted reference to how much electricity would be needed to power pumping stations along the route of the pipeline that would link Canada's oil sands region to Texas refineries.   Continued...