REPORT: Special Review of the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit Process (U.S. State Dept)

On September 19, 2008, TransCanada submitted a Presidential permit application to the Department of State (Department) for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Keystone XL is a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline connecting Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Department is responsible for reviewing such applications for cross-border oil pipelines by virtue of the Presidential delegation of authority contained in Executive Order 13337 and deciding whether issuance of a requested permit “would serve the national interest.” As part of this review process for Keystone XL, the Department prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS) to inform the overall “national interest determination.” The Department uses third-party contractors to assist in the preparation of the EIS. In 2006, the Department consulted with the Council on Environmental Quality and agreed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s process for using third-party contractors to prepare environmental documents was the best model for the Department to follow.

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