A report today from the State Department declared the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada, through Montana, all the way to Texas, would have minimal environmental impact.
The report levels a huge blow to environmentalists who have been protesting outside the White House since Aug. 20. So far, 381 people have been arrested, including a group featuring actor Margot Kidder and holding a sign that read, "Montana Women For An Oil Free Future."
According to the New York Times, the Sierra Club is hoping President Obama will still veto the pipeline, despite the State Department report.
“The decision-making authority is solely the president’s,” Michael Brune, the Sierra Club president, told the paper. “Keystone XL is a huge issue for our young leaders at the Sierra Club, but they’re also watching the president’s actions on other critically important environmental and public health protections. It will be increasingly difficult to mobilize the environmental base and to mobilize in particular young people to volunteer, to knock on thousands of doors, to put in 16-hour days, to donate money if they don’t think the president is showing the courage to stand up to big polluters.”
And there's more from Northern Plains Resource Council:
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline released by the U.S. State Department today is far from final.
Montana still has to issue a state permit and decide whether to grant the safety and landowner conditions requested by the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group (NPPLG); National Interest Determination hearings still need to be held in states crossed by the pipeline and in Washington, D.C., and the State Department and President Obama have to decide whether to permit the pipeline if it is in the national interest.
The release of the final analysis of environmental impacts for Keystone XL has been long-awaited by emergency responders in areas crossed by the pipeline, landowners along the route, and others concerned about the impacts of this project.
NPPLG, a committee of the Northern Plains Resource Council, is a group of landowners crossed by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline who have organized to negotiate with the company an equitable contract that protects landowners and public safety.
"I hope that the final EIS is better than the original and supplemental EIS, both of which had many flaws, faults, and wrong information, and did not cover proper reclamation of lands” said Irene Moffett, a Glendive-area landowner crossed by the proposed pipeline and who is a member of Northern Plains and NPPLG. “I hope the final EIS will require them to have the Emergency Response Plan in place before they start building the pipeline. I will also be looking for requirements to make the roads safer, in the face of the coming heavy construction traffic.”