No State Department decision yet on Keystone XL pipeline

Posted: Oct 28, 2010

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

The State Department is weighing input from U.S. EPA and other federal agencies before it makes a final decision on a pipeline that would carry crude from Canada's oil sands to U.S. refineries, according to a senior State Department official.

A final decision is likely months away on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 510,000 barrels of crude per day, the official said yesterday.

"No decision will be made on the pipeline project until after the full environmental review has generated a final environmental impact statement and until after the department has received input from other relevant agencies on whether permitting the pipeline would be in the national interest," said the official.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had said that her department was "inclined" to approve the TransCanada Corp. pipeline, and critics said they were afraid the State Department was pushing the project through quickly and would not weigh its environmental impact.

The State official said those fears were unwarranted and that Clinton "also noted that there are many factors to balance. All of those factors, including the environmental impacts -- and proposed mitigation of those impacts -- associated with the pipeline will be considered in any decision on the pipeline application."

In July, EPA asked the State Department to revise the original environmental impact statement for the project. After the final statement is released, federal agencies will have 90 days to comment on the project.

TransCanada spokesman James Millar said the company has not changed it startup target of 2013. "We've got contingencies built in, and we're still focused on the 2013 first quarter," Millar said (Andrew Quinn, Reuters, Oct. 27).

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