Interior Department says Keystone XL pipeline impact report is inaccurate | The Raw Story
The US Department of the Interior has criticised as “inaccurate” the State Department’s draft conclusions that the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife would be temporary, and has warned instead that it could have long-term, adversarial effects.
It is the second major government body to publicly criticise State’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), a much contested document which examines the pipeline’s potential impact on the natural environment, endangered species, communities and the economy. The DEIS, published in March, concluded that the project would only have a temporary and indirect impact on wildlife.
A 12-page letter, dated 29 April by the Interior Department’s Office of Environmental Protection and Compliance and posted on the department’s website on 15 August, warned that some effects of the pipeline on wildlife may be permanent.
In the letter, the Department of the Interior repeatedly takes issue with the conclusions of its fellow agency that any impact on wildlife would be short-lived and occur only during construction. The Keystone pipeline, which will transport oil-sands bitumen from Canada across thousands of miles to Nebraska, requires a presidential permit from the State Department, because it crosses the US border.
The Interior letter lists several potential permanent threats to wildlife, including “loss of habitat, habitat fragmentation, species displacement, barrier effect, etc”, and says that the DEIS’s conclusion that “permanent impacts are not expected” in terms of wildlife is not accurate.
One of 100,000 public comments received on the DEIS “at the same time”, according to the State Department, the letter states:
“Given that the project includes not only constructing a pipeline but also related infrastructure, access roads, and power lines and substations, impacts to wildlife are not just related to project construction. Impacts to wildlife from this infrastructure will occur throughout the life of the project (ie: operation and maintenance phases).”
It also states that while the potential impact to fish and aquatic invertebrates have been included in the DEIS, “there there is no acknowledgement of the potential impacts to wildlife in the event of spills or leaks”.
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