Keystone Pipeline Impact Statement to Be Issued in August

The U.S. State Department will issue a final environmental-impact statement next month on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline as Republicans in Congress push for swift approval of the project.

Release of the statement will begin 90 days of review and comment by the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, Daniel Clune, a deputy assistant secretary for State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, said today on a conference call.

Public hearings will be held in September in the six states the proposed $7 billion pipeline would cross, and the State Department plans to make a final decision by the end of the year, Clune said.

“The final environmental-impact statement will have a discussion of alternative routes for the pipeline,” Clune told reporters. “That part of the final EIS is still in the drafting process.”

Keystone XL would deliver 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta’s oil sands in Western Canada across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The pipeline might pollute 450 miles (724 kilometers) of rivers that provide drinking water in the U.S. Midwest, according to a University of Nebraska study released on July 11.

Environmental groups have urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reject the pipeline project, which requires approval from the State Department because it crosses an international border. TransCanada, based in Calgary, said it expects a decision from the department this year. In October, Clinton said she was “inclined” to approve Keystone XL.

The U.S. House may vote next week on a bill that sets a Nov. 1 deadline for the administration’s pipeline decision.

“We think it’s unnecessary since we’ve already committed publicly to finishing this process by the end of the year,” Clune said today.

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