The Washington Post, April 23, 2013, By Juliet Eilperin
"How much does it matter that the Environmental Protection Agency has officially questioned aspects of the State Department’s draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal?
A lot. ...
EPA’s objection to the State Department’s draft analysis not only provides opponents with political ammunition, it could force President Obama to directly weigh in on the permitting decision if they raise similar objections later when State conducts a national interest determination. As long as no other agency objects, State can issue a ruling on the pipeline on its own; if EPA challenges the national interest determination the State Department makes at the end of its review process, Obama himself would have to issue the final permit decision.
This is not the first time EPA has questioned the State Department’s assessment of the project’s climate impact. The agency sharply criticized a previous draft EIS the State Department issued in April 2010, saying the review did not fully explore the potential environmental impact or the prospect of a more rapid transition to alternative energy that would make the imports unnecessary.
Opponents of the project, who have already generated 1 million comments on the draft review, were quick to tout the EPA’s objections on Monday. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s letter shows that despite multiple tries, the State Department is incapable of doing a proper analysis of the climate, wildlife, clean water, safety and other impacts of this disastrous and unneeded project,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, an advocacy group."