On Monday, in a letter to the State Department, the EPA raised objections to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for a Presidential Permit application by TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline. The EPA gave the DSEIS an EO-2 rating (“Environmental Objections—Insufficient Information”), based on its analysis of the project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, pipeline safety, and alternative routes.
The EPA advised the State Department to “explore specific commitments” that TransCanada will make to “implement” the carbon mitigation measures recommended in the DSEIS.
Acknowledging that spills of diluted bitumen have “different impacts than spills of conventional oil,” the EPA recommended that the Final EIS include a means to address the additional risks that a tar sands crude spill poses to water resources and the public.
The EPA also urged the State Department to “provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes” in Nebraska, stating that the I-90 Corridor Alternative “would significantly reduce the length of pipeline crossing the Northern High Plains Aquifer system, which includes the Ogallala formation, and would further reduce the potential for adverse impacts to critical groundwater resources.”
Although proponents of the pipeline, including Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry, insist that the pipeline project has “passed muster through several environmental reviews,” the EPA continues to raise many of the same objections that led to the denial of the original permit in 2011. Clearly TransCanada has not sufficiently responded to concerns voiced by the EPA or landowners along the proposed route.