U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp released this statement following the U.S. Department of State's release of its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
I am pleased that the State Department has taken the next step towards what should be the eventual approval by the President of the Keystone XL pipeline. The statement released today was the result of what is now one of the most thorough studies of any pipeline project, and the draft SEIS suggests that they have found little reason for further delay of this project. I have supported this project since it was initially proposed because it is good for North Dakota and good for our nation.
The State Department should now announce a concrete timeline for comments to be submitted and for a "national interest" determination to be made. The State Department and the President must adhere to this timeline and finally approve the construction of the pipeline. This will put thousands of Americans to work on a project that will deliver oil to U.S. refineries from our friendly neighbor and ally to the north.
According to the State Department, a 45-day public comment period will begin when EPA posts the Draft SEIS on its website, a process that generally takes about one week following today's submission of the document to that agency. Specific instructions about how to submit comments will be provided via the Federal Register and on the State Department Keystone XL website.
After the end of the public comment period, the Department will consider comments received and prepare a Final SEIS. The National Interest Determination period will begin following the release of the Final SEIS, during which time the Department will obtain the views of other agencies about whether to grant or deny the permit.