Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The Environmental Protection Agency, which has faulted government reviews of the Keystone XL pipeline, will remain engaged in discussions over TransCanada Corp.’s proposed project, administrator Lisa Jackson said.
Jackson, meeting with students at Howard University in Washington today, replied to a question from Jarymar Arana, 23, who asked whether the EPA chief will continue to stand up for the health of communities affected by the pipeline.
“Yes, of course, that’s our job,” Jackson said. Referring to complaints by environmentalists about threats to health and safety along the pipeline route, she said: “It’s awesome that we are having this conversation in this country.”
The EPA is “just about completing” a review of a U.S. State Department environmental assessment issued in August, Jackson said today. TransCanada’s proposed $7 billion pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refiners poses “no significant impacts to most resources” along its route across six states, the department said on Aug. 26.
The EPA raised concerns last year after the State Department’s preliminary review. The agency said more work was needed on potential greenhouse-gas emissions, pipeline safety and impacts on wetlands and migratory birds.
Environmentalists oppose the project, citing greenhouse gases and risks of a spill tainting the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska’s Sand Hills region that supplies drinking water for 2 million people. Senator Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican, wants the line rerouted.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has final say on the pipeline project because it crosses an international border.
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