State Dept. Grants More Time to Consider Keystone XL Pipeline

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The State Department announced Tuesday evening that it plans to issue a supplemental draft environmental impact statement on the proposed 1,661-mile pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in Texas.

The State Department said it would issue a supplemental evaluation of the potential impact of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides the ground water used to irrigate a third of the country’s crops, as well as 70 rivers and streams. Last July, the Environmental Protection Agency flagged the pipeline for more review, citing concerns about air pollution, public safety, and potential spills.

From the release:

The public will have 45 days to comment on the Supplemental Draft EIS after the anticipated mid-April comment period begins. Following issuance of a Final EIS, the State Department will solicit public comment and host a public meeting in Washington, D.C., before it makes a determination under Executive Order 13337 on whether issuance of this permit is in the U.S. national interest.

The U.S. Department of State expects to make a decision on whether to grant or deny the permit before the end of 2011.

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