On Friday, the US State Department notified the eight federal agencies involved in the process (the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) that it will provide them more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project.
The State Department said that the agencies needed additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state.
In addition, the State Department, which is ultimately responsible for determining whether or not to award the Presidential Permit that would allow the pipeline to cross the US-Canada border, will review and “appropriately consider” the approximately 2.5 million public comments received during the public comment period that closed on 7 March 2014.
The State Department emphasized that the agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, it said, and the Department and relevant agencies are “actively continuing” work in assessing the Permit application.
The Permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents. The Department will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.—US Department of State
The Keystone XL pipeline project was first proposed in 2008. In 2012, the original application for a Presidential Permit was denied. TransCanada subsequently filed a new application, including proposed new routes through the state of Nebraska.