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State Dept. corrects study on potential railroad deaths related to Keystone XL project

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By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The State Department on Friday corrected several errors it made in a key study evaluating the impact of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, including a 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.

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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.

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Running at something less than full capacity, the pumping stations would not require as much electricity – and so tax power plants less – than originally reported.

Revising that footnote has no impact on the State Department’s estimation of expected greenhouse gas emissions tied to the pipeline, a spokesperson said.

“It is common practice to publish an errata sheet that notes and corrects errors in voluminous technical documents such as environmental impact statements,” the State Department said.

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“The Department has reviewed each of the items listed in the errata sheet and has determined that they have no impact on the integrity of, or the conclusions reached in, the (final report).”

The State Department also published several dozen public comments that had not been included in the roughly 2.5 million it received and previously disclosed.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Ros Krasny and Will Dunham)

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Trump’s racism is ‘disqualifying’ for him to remain as president: former White House lawyer

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Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained on MSNBC on Thursday why he viewed President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four women of color in Congress as disqualifying.

Anchor Brian Williams read a quote from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

"Half of the country is appalled but not really sure how to combat him; the other half is cheering, or at least averting its gaze. This is what a political civil war looks like, with words, for now, as weapons," Glasser wrote.

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Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump

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Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.

"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."

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Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush

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The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.

That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.

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