Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Project EIS
Client: U.S. Department of State (Third-Party Contract with Keystone)
Location: MT, SD, NE, OK, and TX
Cardno ENTRIX is the third-party environmental contractor for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Keystone XL Project, an oil pipeline that would extend from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, across the U.S./Canada border near Morgan, and Montana, to delivery points in the Gulf Coast of Texas. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (Keystone) is the applicant for the proposed Project, and the Department of State (DOS) is the lead federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review for the U.S. portion of the Project. Cardno ENTRIX assisted the DOS in preparing the EIS and in complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Oil pipelines crossing the international border require a Presidential Permit administered by the DOS. Cooperating agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and Rural Utilities Service; the U.S. Department of Energy, Western Area Power Administration; the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Pipeline Safety; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
The proposed project would transport Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) crude oil from an oil supply hub near Hardisty to a proposed tank farm in Cushing, Oklahoma and delivery points in Nederland (near Port Arthur) and Moore Junction (in Harris County), Texas. In total, the proposed Keystone XL Project would consist of approximately 1,711 miles of new, 36-inch-diameter pipeline, with approximately 327 miles of pipeline in Canada and approximately 1,384 miles in the United States. The proposed Project would cross the international border between Saskatchewan, Canada, and the United States near Morgan, Montana. The proposed Project initially would have a nominal transport capacity of 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil. Up to 200,000 bpd of crude oil would be delivered to the proposed Cushing, Tank Farm, which is in the Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) II, with the remainder of the crude oil transported to the delivery points in Texas, which are in the Gulf Coast portion of PADD III. By increasing the pumping capacity in the future, the proposed Project could ultimately transport up to 830,000 bpd of crude oil.
The draft EIS was issued in April 2010. Key issues addressed in the draft EIS included the Project purpose and need, pipeline safety and spill response, non-standard pipeline operating pressure and pipeline wall thickness, safety precautions and potential effects of oil spills on aquifers, particularly the Northern High Plains Aquifer (NHPAQ) system in South Dakota and Nebraska, greenhouse gases (GHG) and climate change impacts, air quality, wetlands and migratory birds, cultural resources, environmental justice, cumulative impacts, and connected actions such as electrical distribution lines and substations. Because the Project would extend across Montana, the EIS addressed the needs of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and the Montana Facility Siting Act (MFSA). Cardno ENTRIX assisted MDEQ in preparing the MEPA portion of the EIS.
After the draft EIS was issued, new information and additional information became available on the proposed Project and on issues and resources related to the potential impacts of the proposed Project. The DOS determined that there were no significant new circumstances or information concerning the proposed project or its potential impacts not already considered in the draft EIS and that the range of alternatives to the proposed action considered in the draft EIS was sufficient to meet the requirements of NEPA. However, the DOS also decided that additional alternatives should be considered in response to public comments on the draft EIS. The DOS therefore determined that submitting the portions of the EIS that were revised to address the new and additional information and to address related comments on the draft EIS for public and agency review would further the purposes of NEPA. As a result Cardno ENTRIX prepared a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for DOS review, and the SDEIS was issued on April 22, 2011. The final EIS was issued on August 26, 2011, with a decision on the Presidential Permit application and the National Interest Determination expected prior to the end of the year.