Environmental concerns about TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline are overblown, said Christopher Knittel, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology energy economics professor. The project's critics are incorrect because they are comparing oil sands with U.S. refined oil, he said. "The question is what oil will replace the tar sands, and it is not the average oil that is sold in the U.S. It's very likely to be Venezuelan oil, which is dirtier than tar sands," Knittel said.

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