Tuesday, July 26, 2011

State Department firms up timetable for Keystone XL Pipeline decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The State Department is pointing to November as the time frame for a final decision on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

In a July 22 conference call, department spokesman Daniel Clune said a final environmental impact statement is likely to be issued in August on the $7 billion project.

Clune said that State Department officials would come to Lincoln, Neb., and to the Nebraska Sandhills in September to give residents two more chances to weigh in on the controversial project. Similar meetings are planned for state capitals in the five other states the pipeline would cross on its way from the oil sands of Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

While the agency is standing by its commitment to act by the end of the year, "we won't make a decision until we complete a thorough review process," Clune said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or her designee will answer the pivotal question of whether the project is in the national interest.

That determination "will take into account the environmental and safety issues covered in the final environmental impact statement," Clune said, "as well as additional issues related to the national interest, such as energy security and economic considerations."

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