State Dept. issues new environmental report on Keystone XL: “no new issues of substance”
The US State Department has taken an important step in the permit process for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would ship oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
Today’s release of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement moves the process closer to a final decision.
This is the second environmental impact statement. The first was judged insufficient by the Environmental Protection Agency, and State went back to the drawing board.
The EPA and environmental groups had asked State to consider a number of additional issues as part of the supplemental review. They included an assessment of alternative routes that could avoid an important aquifer in Alaska. They had also asked that the planned 45 days of public hearing on the environmental impacts be extended to 120 days and that public field hearings be held. State does not appear to have granted the additional time.
The Executive Summary of the Supplemental EIS suggests that the additional review did not alter State’s views of the project, whatever they may be:
Conclusions: The draft EIS provided information on key environmental issues to allow a full understanding of the analysis of environmental effects. Although DOS received thousands of comments on a wide variety of topics addressed in the draft EIS during the comment period, no new issues of substance emerged from the comments received. DOS nonetheless determined that submitting the portions of the EIS that were revised to address the new and additional information and to address comments on the draft EIS for public and agency review would further the purposes of NEPA and prepared and issued this SDEIS. However, the information provided in this SDEIS does not alter the conclusions reached in the draft EIS regarding the need for and the potential impacts of the proposed Project.
Here is coverage from the Lincoln Journal Star of Nebraska where the pipeline has been a big issue.