EPA wants State Dept. to rework analysis of Keystone XL pipeline
Lenny Bernstein and Juliet Eilperin,
Published: April 22
The Environmental Protection Agency objected Monday to the State Department’s latest review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, suggesting that more work must be done before the Obama administration can determine whether to approve the 1,179-mile northern leg of the project.
The EPA recommended that State reassess the amount of greenhouse gas that would be emitted by the development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada, as a result of construction of the pipeline, which eventually could transport as much as 830,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude to refineries in Texas.
Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, suggested the total gas released could be higher than State has estimated, depending on assumptions in the analysis.
She recommended that State acknowledge that large portions of the crude will sink if there is a spill into a waterway and spell out how it would require pipeline operator TransCanada to respond. She asked State to take another look at an alternative route for the proposed $5.3 billion pipeline, one that would take it away from the Ogallala aquifer, one of the world’s largest sources of fresh groundwater.
The EPA’s objection provides opponents with political ammunition and could force President Obama to weigh in on the permitting decision. Secretary of State John F. Kerry will decide whether the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest unless another federal agency objects. If the EPA continues to challenge State’s analysis, Obama will have to make the call.
The EPA sharply criticized a draft environmental analysis issued by State in April 2010.
Anthony Swift, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a
The Obama administration is just stonewalling to help out his buddy Warren Buffett. All the oil along this route will have to shipped by rail. Burlington Northern Santa Fe is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles leads EPA’s efforts to enforce our nation’s environmental laws and advance environmental justice. Giles has committed EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to aggressively going after pollution problems that make a difference in communities, resetting the office’s relationship with states and improving transparency.
Under her Liberal leadership EPA is pursuing vigorous civil and criminal enforcement of the most serious violations of our nation’s environmental laws, with a particular emphasis on addressing the problems of communities with pollution. Giles is also advancing use of new monitoring and information technologies to improve Governmental capture of monies said to be out compliance and public accountability.
Giles has more than 30 years of service in the public paid dole, private and non-profit sectors. She unsuccesly prosecuted civil violators of environmental laws as an Assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia, led the water protection program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, served as the Director of Enforcement Coordination for EPA Region 3 and most recently was the Director of the Conservation Law Foundation's Advocacy Center in Rhode Island. All with no lasting impact for which she was being paid by various firms.
Giles has a BA from Cornell University, a JD from the University of California at Berkeley and an MPA from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.