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Draft Supplemental EIS For Keystone Pipeline Released

The State Department released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline last week. Along with the full report is a summary of the history of the project.

The discussion of the impacts of climate change on the proposed pipeline, while acknowledging significant ongoing changes in temperature and weather patterns, concluded in section 4.14.2.2:

“In summer, warmer summer temperatures, increased number of hot days, increased number of consecutive hot days and longer summers are predicted, which could lead to impacts associated with heat stress and wildfire risks. Keystone has confirmed that the proposed Project is designed in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations and the PHMSA 57 Special Conditions (Appendix B), and that these design standards are sufficient to accommodate an increased number of hot days or consecutive hot days. Keystone has also stated that because the proposed pipeline would be buried to at least 4 feet of cover to the top of the pipe, it would be below most surface temperature impacts, including wild fires and frequent freezing and thawing (Keystone 2012).”

The level of emissions from the pipeline during operations are described in section 4.12.3.2:

“The total annual GHG emissions from the operation of the pipeline, as shown above, amount to 3.19 million metric tons per year of CO2e2. The annual CO2e emissions from the proposed Project is equivalent to CO2e emissions from approximately 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for one year, or 398,000 homes using electricity for one year.3 Recommended GHG mitigation measures during proposed Project operation are listed in Section 4.12.4.2, Greenhouse Gases.”

Section 4.12.4.2 recommendations for mitigation of GHGs during operations are as follows:

“During proposed Project operations, the following mitigation measures are recommended to reduce GHG emissions to the atmosphere:
• Ensure that all pumps are maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations;
• Consider use of high efficient pump specifications;
• Consider arrangement of pumps to optimize efficiency; and • Consider the purchase of green electricity from the grid.”

There is a 45 day public comment period. Comments may be sent to keystonecomments@state.gov
-Steven Silverberg