On May 4, 2012, the Department of State received a new application from TransCanada Corp. for a proposed pipeline that would run from the Canadian border to connect to a pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska. The new application includes proposed new routes through the state of Nebraska.
The Department’s responsibility, under Executive Order 13337, is to determine if granting a permit for the proposed pipeline would serve the national interest. The Department is considering this new application on its merits. Consistent with the Executive Order, this involves consideration of many factors, including energy security, health, environmental, cultural, economic, and foreign policy concerns.
In accordance with its interim guidance, the Department of State selected Environmental Resources Management (known as “ERM”) to serve as an independent third-party contractor for its environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project. ERM is assisting the Department in conducting a thorough analysis of both the new route in Nebraska (in cooperation with the State of Nebraska) and any other information relevant to the environmental review that has become available.
On September 7, 2012, the Department of State received an environmental report from the applicant, TransCanada Corp. It is a normal part of the federal environmental review process for the private company applying for a permit to submit its own initial analysis of the environmental issues relevant to its proposal.
On January 22, 2013, the Department of State received notice from Governor Heineman of the State of Nebraska that he had accepted the route recommended by the Nebraska state route review process.
On March 1, 2013, the Department of State:
On March 8, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the Draft SEIS on its website, starting the 45 day public comment period.
On April 18, 2013, the Department of State held a public meeting in Grand Island, Nebraska.
On April 22, 2013, the comment period on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement closed.
The Department is reviewing the comments we received during the public comment period and will make revisions to the Draft SEIS as appropriate. Next, the Department will seek the views of other agencies identified in Executive Order 13337, and make a determination as to whether issuance of a Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline would serve the national interest. The Department intends to provide an additional opportunity for the public to comment during the National Interest Determination (NID) period that will begin with the release the Final SEIS. This additional public comment period will provide a further opportunity for the public to provide input on this proposed project. The Department will provide the details on the NID comment period at a later date.
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued their Biological Opinion for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Department, which was prepared consistent with the Endangered Species Act. The Department posted the Biological Opinion at http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/proj_docs/bio/index.htm.
On May 23, 2013, the Department posted the first set of approximately 100,000 comments, out of the more than 1.2 million received, on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to www.regulations.gov, a public website. The comments can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=DOS-2013-0011.
The Department plans to post subsequent sets of comments of a similar size weekly. All comments will be posted prior to completion of the Final SEIS.
The Department continues to review the Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in a rigorous, transparent, and efficient manner.