Friday, November 11, 2011

State Department's Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement & Reaction

Note: WIMS is not publishing today, in observance of the Veterans Day holiday. However, yesterday, following our regular daily posting, we issued a Special Supplement Breaking News report to our subscribers on the State Department's Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement and reactions from various interests. We are posting that report today.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2011
Statement by the President on the State Department's Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement
November 10, 2011
"I support the State Department's announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal.  Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.  The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people.  At the same time, my administration will build on the unprecedented progress we've made towards strengthening our nation's energy security, from responsibly expanding domestic oil and gas production to nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, to continued progress in the development of a clean energy economy."
The State Department release indicates:

"Executive Order 13337 authorizes the Department of State to lead the review of Presidential Permit applications for transborder pipelines, granting the Department discretion in determining what factors to examine to inform a determination of whether the proposed project is in the national interest. Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough and rigorous review of TransCanada's application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, the Department has determined it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska.

"As part of the National Interest Determination process, the State Department held a public comment period, including public meetings in the six potentially affected states and Washington, D.C., to increase the opportunity for public comments. During this time, the Department also received input from state, local, and tribal officials. We received comments on a wide range of issues including the proposed project's impact on jobs, pipeline safety, health concerns, the societal impact of the project, the oil extraction in Canada, and the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, which was one of the most common issues raised. The comments were consistent with the information in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about the unique combination of characteristics in the Sand Hills (which includes a high concentration of wetlands of special concern, a sensitive ecosystem, and extensive areas of very shallow groundwater) and provided additional context and information about those characteristics. The concern about the proposed route's impact on the Sand Hills of Nebraska has increased significantly over time, and has resulted in the Nebraska legislature convening a special session to consider the issue.

"State law primarily governs routes for interstate petroleum pipelines; however, Nebraska currently has no such law or regulatory framework authorizing state or local authorities to determine where a pipeline goes. Taken together with the national concern about the pipeline's route, the Department has determined it is necessary to examine in-depth alternative routes that would avoid the Sand Hills in Nebraska in order to move forward with a National Interest Determination for the Presidential Permit.

"Based on the Department's experience with pipeline project reviews and the time typically required for environmental reviews of similar scope by other agencies, it is reasonable to expect that this process including a public comment period on a supplement to the final EIS consistent with NEPA could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013. After obtaining the additional information, the Department would determine, in consultation with the eight other agencies identified in the Executive Order, whether the proposed pipeline was in the national interest, considering all of the relevant issues together. Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy."

11/10/11  Keystone XL Pipeline Project Review Process: Decision to Seek Additional Information; State Department Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC
Access complete details and background from the DOS Keystone XL Pipeline Project website (click here).[#Energy/Pipeline, #Energy/OilSands]
NPRA Says Keystone XL Pipeline Delay A Blow to America - 11/10/2011
from National Petrochemical & Refiners Association: Latest News 
Victory Today, Clean Energy Tomorrow - Sierra Club
Speaker Boehner Statement on the Keystone Announcement
Keystone XL Do-Over Likely a Lethal Blow
from NWF Global Warming News 
from Rep. Markey (D-MA) - 
Obama Administration Delays Decision on Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline - Center for Biological Diversity (press release)
President's Decision on Keystone XL Pipeline Shows Leadership and Courage
Natural Resources Defense Council; and Robert Redford, an NRDC Trustee
Big Announcement Today  
from Tar Sands Action