Strike Two!: Keystone XL's Second Federal Environmental Review Misses the Mark (Again)

After public outcry forces second review of controversial tar sands pipeline, major issues left unaddressed

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2011) - Today, the State Department released a second round of environmental review for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline which is meant to address issues left out or inadequately addressed in earlier analyses. Notably, this version does not include sufficient evaluation of alternative pipeline routes to avoid the Nebraska Sandhills or Ogallala Aquifer and contains no pipeline safety information from the U.S. Pipeline Safety Administration, according to NRDC.

Following is a statement from Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, International Program director for Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This environmental review for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is as inadequate as their first go-round, with the State Department merely paying lip service to critical issues such as pipeline safety, the routing over the Ogallala Aquifer, and environmental justice around refineries. The public deserves an in-depth review of these issues. NRDC and partner organizations have sent a series of letters to the State Department specifically asking that these issues be addressed, These requests have been echoed by letters from Nebraska Senators and other members of Congress, mayors, farmers, landowners, and others. Apparently, they did not get the message.

“If this round of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline environmental review is as superficial as it seems, the State Department will need to go back to the drawing board – perhaps the third time will be a charm and they will get it right.”

NRDC legal and policy experts are concerned that the 45 day public comment period is not enough time for farmers, local communities, and other members of the public to prepare comments on the review, making a 120 day public review period with field hearings in all of the states along the proposed pipeline route more appropriate. NRDC will be preparing an in depth analysis of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline over the coming days. The draft supplemental environmental impact 45 day public comment period starts next week April 22 and extends until June 6, 2011.

The supplemental EIS can be found at