The US Department of State (DOS) has announced another process delay with respect to the permitting process for the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
The DOS has said that it will seek the input of eight federal agencies in the course of assessing the National Interest Determination. The DOS had previously asked for their views by early May.
The State has notified agencies that it is extending the period and providing more time for the submission of their views on the proposed project, citing the potential impact of a Nebraska Supreme Court case which could ultimately affect the Keystone XL Pipeline route. In February, a Nebraskan judge overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state.
TransCanada’s President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay.
“Another delay is inexplicable. The first leg of our Keystone Pipeline began shipping oil to refineries outside of St Louis in 2010. It is about the same length of pipe as Keystone XL, carries the same oil and also crosses the 49th parallel. It took just 21 months to study and approve. After more than 2,000 days, five exhaustive environmental reviews, and over 17,000 pages of scientific data, Keystone XL continues to languish. Our Keystone Pipeline has safely delivered more than 600 MMbbl of crude oil to US refineries, replacing foreign oil.
“The Nebraska routeing situation is being managed appropriately. A notice of appeal was filed by Nebraska’s Attorney General in February on the same day as the district court judge’s decision regarding LB1161. This action “÷stays’ the lower court decision, meaning LB1161 is still valid and the Keystone XL re-route in Nebraska that was evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by the Governor remains in effect.
“Our view remains that the current 90-day National Interest Determination process that is now underway should not be impacted by the Nebraska lower court ruling since the approved re-route remains valid during appeal.
“North American oil production is up dramatically and will continue to rise. That means without Keystone more oil will be shipped by rail and by barge. As the State Department concluded in its recent Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, not approving Keystone XL will lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions through other oil transportation options and greater public risk. Not building Keystone XL is a lose, lose, lose scenario any way you look at it.”