Sources indicate, however, that the analysis is not the final word and does not provide a “specific recommendation,” but officials reveal that the report is ultimately supportive of the pipeline.
Fox News reports, “The release of the long-anticipated evaluation, known as an ‘environmental impact statement,’ sets the stage for a 90-day review period.”
The report is compiled by the State Department, which has jurisdiction over the pipeline since it crosses an international border.
The State Department had released a draft environmental report last March that did not raise any major objections to the pipeline, asserting that other options of getting oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast are generally worse for the environment.
The State Department was then required to conduct a new environmental analysis after the pipeline operator, TransCanada, changed the pipeline’s route through Nebraska.
The American Petroleum Institute believes that the new report will not differ significantly from the March 2013 draft study, based on conversations the Institute has had with officials in the Obama administration.
“We are not expecting any changes,” Cindy Schild, senior manager of refining and oil sands for API, told Politico. “If you look at the analysis, I don’t see where they could pivot on any of those things.”
In 2012, President Obama refused to issue a permit for part of the project due to concerns over the pipeline’s impact on an aquifer in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, TransCanada was given the clearance to build the southern portion of the pipeline running between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
Fox News reports, “Obama backed the southern leg of the project during a 2012 visit to a pipeyard near Cushing, Okla., describing the city as a ‘bottleneck’ between producers and refineries along the Texas Coast. Obama said then that increased oil and gas production was part of his domestic energy policy.”
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Photo of pipefitters working on a portion of Keystone XL in Oklahoma: AP Images