Despite pressure from Republicans in Congress to fast-track approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast, the State Dept. announced today it would hold additional hearings. This is something opponents of the pipeline had been asking for:
State Department Announces Additional Public Meetings on Keystone XL Pipeline
The U.S. Department of State plans to hold six additional public meetings as part of the permit review process for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL is a proposed 1700-mile oil pipeline from the U.S.-Canadian border in Montana, through Cushing, Oklahoma, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. In April 2010, the State Department released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment. One year later, in April 2011, the State Department released a Supplemental Draft EIS for a public comment period that ran from April 22 through June 6. The Supplemental Draft EIS is available on the State Department’s website: https://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov.
Once the Department of State issues a Final EIS, interested federal agencies, such as the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, will have 90 days to provide their opinion on whether issuance of a Presidential Permit would be in the national interest.
During the first 30 days of this 90 day review period, the State Department plans to host public meetings in each of the five states through which the proposed pipeline would pass, namely Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. These meetings will give the public an opportunity to voice their views on economic, energy security, environmental and safety issues, in addition to any other issues the public thinks should be taken into account in determining whether granting or denying the Presidential Permit would be in the national interest.
The State Department also plans to hold a public meeting in Washington, DC, during this time period. Information about all of these public meetings will be disseminated by Media Note and Federal Register Notice.
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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