Little time left to comment on Keystone XL pipeline application
November 25, 2008
Time is running out for landowners to participate in a key phase of the permit process for a proposed new pipeline that could result in eminent domain proceedings against them. Unless the U.S. State Department grants an extension, Dec. 4 is the deadline for public comment on TransCanada’s application for the Presidential Permit required to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would move tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Dakota Resource Council, Dakota Rural Action, Northern Plains Resource Council, Plains Justice, and Western Organization of Resource Councils have asked the U.S. State Department to re-publish notice of the Presidential Permit application and to begin a new 90-day comment period so that farmers, ranchers and other landowners will have a reasonable amount of time to comment.
“Landowners really need this extension. The comment period is more than half over and the application isn’t even available online,” said Lyle Quick, a member of Northern Plains Resource Council and a McCone County (MT) rancher. “To see the application, you have to contact the State Department and ask them to mail a CD to you. And that’s if you even know we’re in a comment period.”
Quick said that last week he caught surveyors trespassing on his sister’s, Lyla Green’s, place. “They said they were surveying (a two-track farm trail) claiming it might one day be a road across her property used to haul pipe to the construction site,” Quick said.
Notice that the permit application had been filed and the 30-day public comment period had begun was published in the Federal Register on Election Day.
“This is a major project consisting of a 36-inch buried pipe transporting a proposed 750,000 barrels of tar sands oil every day. The process should not be started with an attempt to squeeze this application in at the last minute under the current administration,” said David Neimi, a member of Dakota Rural Action who is a South Dakota landowner potentially impacted by the project.
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The Presidential Permit is required for the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the Canadian-U.S. border and starts an important permitting process which includes an Environmental Impact Statement for the entire proposed 1,375-mile length of the project. According to the five farm interest groups, this Presidential Permit process is important for landowners to participate in so that they are not shut out of future chances to comment on the EIS for the proposed pipeline.
The Keystone XL pipeline would be TransCanada’s second pipeline for carrying tar sands crude to the U.S. Keystone XL would enter the U.S. at Port Morgan, MT. After passing through Montana, the pipeline would travel through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Letters requesting a new notice and 90 day comment period can be sent to: J. Brian Duggan, Room 4843, Office of International Energy and Commodity Policy, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520 or e-mailed to him at: DugganJB@state.gov.
Maps of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route are available on the TransCanada website: http://www.transcanada.com/keystone/kxl.html.