EPA says it will weigh in soon on Keystone XL

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon offer its comments on the final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the U.S. State Department concerning the Keystone XL pipeline.

Reuters reports:

The top U.S. environmental regulator on Thursday said her agency would soon comment on the proposed $7 billion Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, adding she was concerned about emissions and potential leaks that could result from the project.

“We have comments we are just about completing on the current environmental impact statement,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said at a Howard University event with youth environment leaders.

Jackson listed concerns about the pipeline including additional greenhouse gas emissions from producing the oil sands; the possibility of leaks on the line; and harmful emissions from refineries in communities along the Gulf Coast that could result from the project.

“This isn’t a little tiny pipeline, this is a pipeline that cuts our country literally in half,” she added. The $7 billion project would take 700,000 barrels per day or more from Canada through six states to refineries in Texas.

The EPA was highly critical of the first two drafts of the EIS that the State Department released, forcing the agency to go back and revise their analyses. Environmental groups have revealed close ties between TransCanada and officials in the State Department and accuse the agency of acting as a cheerleader for the project rather than an independent and objective decision maker.