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U.S. EPA Details Environmental Objections With State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement For The Keystone XL Pipeline

Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence


On June 6, 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") sent the State Department a letter expressing its concerns with the Department's Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("Supplemental EIS") for the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. TransCanada is proposing to build an oil pipeline to transport oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada to delivery points in Oklahoma and Texas. The State Department, which must approve the pipeline because it crosses an international border, issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("Draft EIS") in April 2010. U.S. EPA found the Draft EIS to be inadequate because potentially significant impacts were not evaluated and additional information and analyses were necessary. The State Department issued the Supplemental EIS in April 2011, to respond to U.S. EPA's concerns. However, U.S. EPA continues to have objections to the Supplemental EIS.

U.S. EPA's letter explained that the Supplemental EIS did not adequately address several key concerns, including (1) pipeline safety and oil spill risks; (2) oil spill impacts on affected communities and environmental justice concerns; (3) environmental and health impacts to communities adjacent to refineries; (4) lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions; (5) wetlands impacts; and (6) impacts on migratory birds. As a result of these concerns, U.S. EPA rated the Supplemental EIS as "Environmental Objections – Insufficient Information (EO2)."

U.S. EPA stated that it would work with the State Department to provide assistance in preparing the Final EIS and will carefully review the Final EIS to determine if it fully addresses U.S. EPA's concerns.

More information about the Keystone XL Pipeline Project can be found at the U.S. Department of State's website at

U.S. EPA's June 6, 2011 letter is available here.