Sen. Barbara Boxer wants to add a new element to the Keystone XL oil pipeline debate: its effects on health.
The California Democrat claims negative health effects from the proposed pipeline's development were ignored by the State Department's environmental impact review.
"The Environmental Impact Statement was woefully inadequate when it came to exploring human impacts of the pipeline," Boxer said Wednesday at a press conference held with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and anti-Keystone XL activists and environmentalists.
She said Keystone will add pollutants to the air that will increase the likelihood of people getting cancer or heart disease.
"I do believe the public health impacts are something that average people can really relate to because they know cancer is the second leading cause of death in this country — heart disease is number one -— and all of this filthy air contributes to both of those," she said.
Boxer and Whitehouse will send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry detailing the health impacts of the pipeline, which they hope he will consider when determining whether Keystone XL is in the nation's best interests.
The State Department is currently in the national determination phase of its review, which lasts for 90 days. While the department's environmental analysis said the pipeline developed by TransCanada would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, Boxer claims more information is needed on the human impacts.