Today the U.S. Department of State released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the new Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. “The lengthy assessment did not give environmentalists the answer they had hoped for in the debate over the project’s climate impact,” the Washington Post reports. “But the detailed environmental report … also questions one of the strongest arguments for the pipeline, by suggesting America can meet its energy needs over the next decade without it.” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said: “We’re mystified as to how the State Department can acknowledge the negative effects of the Earth’s dirtiest oil on our climate, but at the same time claim that the proposed pipeline will ‘not likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.’”

The full text of the SEIS is here: U.S. Department of State, Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Draft Supplementary Impact Statement (SEIS)

From the State Dept Keystone XL SEIS pipeline application process fact sheet

The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The document is a draft technical review of potential environmental impacts. The Draft SEIS includes a comprehensive review of the new route in Nebraska as well as any significant new circumstances or information that is now available on the largely unchanged route in Montana and South Dakota. It also expands and updates information that had been included in the 2011 Final Environmental Impact Statement that was prepared for the previous Keystone XL application. It does not make any recommendations on whether the pipeline should be approved or denied.

Once the Draft SEIS has been published by the EPA, the public will have 45 days to comment on the document. Those comments can be addressed to the following mailbox: keystonecomments@state.gov. 

Washington Post: Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on climate change, State Department analysis says

Sierra Club statement

In a May 2012 op-ed in The New York Times, NASA climate scientist James Hansen wrote regarding Alberta tar sands extraction, “If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate. … We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them.”