Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues [June 29, 2011]   [open pdf - 343KB]

"Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has filed an application with the U.S. Department of State to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Keystone XL would have the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day, delivering crude oil to the market hub at Cushing, OK, and further to points in Texas. The project is expected to cost more than $7.0 billion, of which at least $5.4 billion would be spent on the U.S. portion. TransCanada is planning to build a short additional pipeline so that oil from the Bakken formation in Montana and North Dakota can also be carried on the Keystone XL pipeline. As a facility connecting the United States with a foreign country, Keystone XL requires a Presidential Permit from the State Department. Issuance of a permit is dependant upon a finding that the project would serve the national interest. That finding is based, in part, on the environmental impacts of the project as determined in an environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A draft EIS issued in April 2010 was rated 'inadequate' by the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA). […] Congress may have an oversight role stemming from federal environmental statutes that govern the pipeline's application review process. The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938) would direct the President to issue a final order granting or denying the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline by November 1, 2011. Whatever the State Department's decision, legal challenges appear likely."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41668
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