[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 17 (Wednesday, January 28, 2009)]
[Pages 5019-5023]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-1828]



[Public Notice 6496]

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and 
to Conduct Scoping Meetings and Notice of Floodplain and Wetland 
Involvement and to Initiate Consultation under Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act for the Proposed Transcanada 
Keystone Xl Pipeline

Public Notice

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (Keystone) has applied to 
the United States Department of State for a Presidential Permit 
authorizing the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities 
at the border of the United States for the importation of petroleum 
from a foreign country. Authorization is being requested in connection 
with Keystone's proposed international pipeline project (the Keystone 
XL Project), which is designed to transport crude oil production from 
the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to existing markets in the Texas 
Gulf Coast area. The Department of State receives and considers 
applications for Presidential Permits for such energy-related pipelines 
pursuant to authority delegated to it by the President under Executive 
Order 13337 of April 30, 2004 (69 FR 25299), as amended. To issue a 
Permit, the Department of State must

[[Page 5020]]

find that issuance would serve the national interest. In the course of 
processing such applications, the Department consults extensively with 
concerned Federal and State agencies, and invites public comment in 
arriving at its determination. With respect to the application 
submitted by Keystone, the Department of State has concluded that the 
issuance of the Presidential Permit would constitute a major Federal 
action that may have a significant impact upon the environment within 
the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. 
For this reason, Department of State intends to prepare an EIS to 
address reasonably foreseeable impacts from the proposed action and 
alternatives. Additionally Department of State has determined that 
issuance of a Presidential permit for the Keystone XL project triggers 
review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and 
is consequently initiating the required consultation under that 
statute. Consultation will be conducted with State Historic 
Preservation Officers, Indian tribes, and the Advisory Council on 
Historic Preservation, and other consulting parties, as appropriate, to 
determine the locations (if any) of potential sites for inclusion on 
the National Register of Historic Places as well as the potential 
eligibility and findings of effect for cultural resources identified 
within the Keystone XL Area of Potential Effect. The purpose of this 
Notice of Intent (NOI) is to inform the public about the proposed 
action, announce plans for scoping meetings, invite public 
participation in the scoping process, and solicit public comments for 
consideration in establishing the scope and content of the EIS. As the 
proposed project may involve an action in a floodplain or wetland, the 
EIS will include a floodplain and wetlands assessment and floodplain 
statement of findings.

DATES: Department of State invites interested agencies, organizations, 
and members of the public to submit comments or suggestions to assist 
in identifying significant environmental issues, measures that might be 
adopted to reduce environmental impacts, and in determining the 
appropriate scope of the EIS. The public scoping period starts with the 
publication of this Notice in the Federal Register on January 28, 2009 
and will continue until March 16, 2009. Written, electronic, and oral 
comments will be given equal weight and State will consider all 
comments received or postmarked by March 16, 2009 in defining the scope 
of the EIS. Comments received or postmarked after that date will be 
considered to the extent practicable.
    During this public scoping period, the Department of State plans to 
use the scoping process to help identify consulting parties and 
historic preservation issues for consideration under Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations (36 
CFR Part 800). Because the project will cross lands under the 
jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), Keystone has also filed applications with the BLM for 
a pipeline right-of-way (ROW) application (serial number MTM 98191) 
under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended [(MLA) 30 U.S.C. 
185]. BLM has jurisdiction over federal lands and is responsible for 
authorizing ROW grants under the MLA for the pipeline, pumping 
stations, access roads, and site improvements. The BLM is also expected 
to process ROW applications under the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 for electrical transmission lines to 
supply power to the proposed pumping stations. For this reason, 
Department of State, with the BLM as a cooperating agency, intends to 
prepare an EIS to address environmental impacts of the proposed 
actions. BLM plans to process the ROW Grant and Temporary Use Permit in 
parallel with the processing of the Presidential Permit by DOS. BLM 
intends to use the EIS as its NEPA document for purposes of its 
permits. Separate Records of Decision will be prepared by each Federal 
agency pursuant to their respective action(s). The project also falls 
under the jurisdiction of the Montana Department of Environmental 
Quality (MDEQ) pursuant to the Montana Major Facility Siting Act (MFSA) 
and requires a review under the Montana Environmental Policy Act 
(MEPA). The Department of State understands that MDEQ also intends to 
utilize the EIS process to present information and analyses required 
before a decision is made under MFSA. This will be done parallel with 
the Department's processing of the application for the Presidential 

           Dates and Locations for the Public Scoping Meetings
         Meeting date                Location              Venue
Monday, February 9, 7-9 p.m...  Beaumont, TX.....  Mary and John Gray
                                                    Library, 8F, Lamar
                                                    University, 211
                                                    Redbird Lane,
                                                    Beaumont, TX 77705.
Tuesday, February 10, 7-9 p.m.  Liberty, TX......  VFW Hall, 1520 N.
                                                    Main Street,
                                                    Liberty, TX 77575.
Wednesday, February 11, 7-9     Livingston, TX...  Livingston Junior
 p.m.                                               High School, 1801
                                                    Highway 59 Loop N.,
                                                    Livingston, TX
Thursday, February 12, 7-9 p.m  Tyler, TX........  Harvey Convention
                                                    Center, 2000 W.
                                                    Front Street, Tyler,
                                                    TX 75702.
Tuesday, February 17, 7-9 p.m.  Durant, OK.......  Holiday Inn Express,
                                                    613 University
                                                    Place, Durant, OK
Wednesday, February 18, 7-9     Ponca City, OK...  Econo Lodge Meeting
 p.m.                                               Room, 212 S. 14th
                                                    Street, Ponca City,
                                                    OK 74601.
Thursday, February 19, 12-2     El Dorado, KS....  El Dorado Civic
 p.m.                                               Center, Main Meeting
                                                    Room, 201 E.
                                                    Central, El Dorado,
                                                    KS 67042.
Thursday, February 19, 7-9 p.m  Clay Center, KS..  Kansas National Guard
                                                    Armory, 227 S. 12th
                                                    Street, Clay Center,
                                                    KS 67432.
Monday, February 23, 7-9 p.m..  York, NE.........  York Community
                                                    Center, 211 E. 7th
                                                    Street, York, NE
Tuesday, February 24, 7-9 p.m.  Atkinson, NE.....  Atkinson Community
                                                    Center, 206 W. 5th
                                                    Street, Atkinson, NE
Wednesday, February 25, 7-9     Murdo, SD........  Murdo Elementary
 p.m.                                               School, Mini-gym,
                                                    305 Jefferson
                                                    Avenue, Murdo, SD
Thursday, February 26, 7-9 p.m  Faith, SD........  Community Legion
                                                    Hall, Main Street,
                                                    Faith, SD 57626.
Thursday, February 26, 7-9 p.m  Buffalo, SD......  Harding County
                                                    Memorial, Recreation
                                                    Center, 204 Hodge
                                                    Street, Buffalo, SD
Monday, February 23, 7-9 p.m..  Baker, MT........  Thee Garage and
                                                    Steakhouse, 19 W.
                                                    Montana Avenue,
                                                    Baker, MT 59313.
Tuesday, February 24, 7-9 p.m.  Terry, MT........  Terry High School,
                                                    215 East Park,
                                                    Terry, MT 59349.

[[Page 5021]]

Wednesday, February 25, 12-2    Circle, MT.......  Schmidts Super Valu,
 p.m.                                               105 10th Street,
                                                    Circle, MT 59215.
Wednesday, February 25, 12-2    Plentywood, MT...  Grandview Hotel, Gold
 p.m.                                               Dollar Banquet Room,
                                                    120 S Main St.,
                                                    Plentywood, MT
Wednesday, February 25, 7-9     Glendive, MT.....  Dawson Community
 p.m.                                               College, UC102
                                                    Lecture Hall, 300
                                                    College Drive,
                                                    Glendive, MT 59330.
Thursday, February 26, 12-2     Glasgow, MT......  Cottonwood Inn and
 p.m.                                               Suites, Highway 2
                                                    East, Glasgow, MT
Thursday, February 26, 7-9 p.m  Malta, MT........  Great Northern Hotel,
                                                    2 South 1st Street
                                                    East, Malta, MT

    A court reporter will be present and will record comments for the 

ADDRESSES: Written comments or suggestions on the scope of the EIS 
should be addressed to: Elizabeth Orlando, OES/ENV Room 2657, U.S. 
Department of State, Washington, DC 20520. Comments may be submitted 
electronically to [email protected]. Public comments will be 
posted on the Web site identified below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed 
project or to receive a copy of the draft EIS when it is issued, 
contact Elizabeth Orlando at the address listed in the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice by electronic or regular mail as listed above, 
or by telephone (202) 647-4284 or by fax at (202) 647-5947.
    Project details and environmental information on the Keystone XL 
Project application for a Presidential Permit, including associated 
maps downloadable from a Web site that is being established for this 
purpose: http://www.keystonepipeline-XL.state.gov. This Web site is 
expected to be operational on or about January 23, 2009. This Web site 
will accept public comments for the record.
    Information on the Department of State Presidential Permit process 
can also be found at the above Internet address. The MLA and FLPMA 
application submitted to BLM will be on file at its office in Billings, 
    A TransCanada hosted project Web site is also available at http://www.transcanada.com/keystone/kxl.html. The Keystone XL Project toll-
free number is 1-866-717-7473 (United States and Canada).


Background and Need for Agency Action

    Keystone is proposing to construct and operate a crude oil pipeline 
and related facilities from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to the Port 
Arthur and east Houston areas of Texas in the United States (U.S.). The 
project, known as the Keystone XL Project, would have a nominal 
capacity to deliver up to 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil 
from an oil supply hub near Hardisty to existing terminals in Nederland 
(Jefferson County) near Port Arthur and Moore Junction (Harris County) 
in Houston, Texas. The Keystone XL Project would consist of three new 
pipeline segments (the Steele City Segment, the Gulf Coast Segment and 
the Houston Lateral Segment) and would also provide additional pumping 
capacity on the Cushing Extension Segment of the previously-permitted 
Keystone Pipeline Project (Keystone Cushing Extension). The Steele City 
Segment of the Keystone XL Project would extend from Hardisty, Alberta 
southeast to Steele City, Nebraska (Jefferson County). The Gulf Coast 
Segment would extend from Cushing, Oklahoma (Lincoln County) south to 
Nederland, Texas (Jefferson County). The Houston Lateral Segment would 
extend from the Gulf Coast Segment, in Liberty County, Texas southwest 
to Moore Junction, Harris County, Texas, near the Houston Ship Channel. 
In total, the Keystone XL Project would consist of approximately 1,702 
miles of new, 36-inch-diameter pipeline, consisting of about 327 miles 
in Canada and 1,375 miles within the United States. It would 
interconnect with the northern and southern termini of the previously 
approved 298-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter Keystone Cushing Extension. 
The Keystone XL Project would be placed into service in phases. The 
project would be located primarily in rural areas, with more populated 
areas occurring around Houston, Texas. U.S. counties that could 
possibly be affected by construction of the proposed pipeline are:
    Montana: Phillips, Valley, McCone, Dawson, Prairie, Fallon.
    South Dakota: Harding, Butte, Perkins, Meade, Pennington, Haakon, 
Jones, Lyman, Tripp.
    Nebraska: Keya Paha, Rock, Holt, Garfield, Wheeler, Greele, Boone, 
Nance, Merrick, Hamilton, York, Fillmore, Saline, Jefferson.
    Kansas: Clay, Butler.
    Oklahoma: Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Creek, Hughes, Lincoln, Okfuskee, 
Payne, Seminole.
    Texas: Angelina, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Hardin, 
Hopkins, Jefferson, Lamar, Liberty, Nacogdoches, Polk, Rusk, Smith, 
Upshur, Wood, Chambers, Harris.
    In Canada, the project, as proposed, would involve the construction 
of approximately 327 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline from Hardisty 
to the U.S./Canadian border near Morgan, Montana (Phillips County). The 
Department understands that appropriate regulatory authorities in 
Canada will be conducting an independent environmental review process 
for the Canadian facilities.
    In the United States, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would 
consist of 1,375 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline. The Steele City 
Segment would be approximately 850 miles long. The Gulf Coast Segment 
would be approximately 478 miles long. The Houston Lateral would be 
approximately 47 miles long.
    Keystone would construct the Keystone XL project within a 110-foot-
wide corridor, consisting of both a temporary 60-foot-wide construction 
right-of-way (ROW) and a 50-foot-wide permanent ROW. The 60-foot width 
and 50-foot width may not overlap. Extra temporary workspace would be 
required in some locations, including steep slopes, rough terrain, 
stream, wetland and road crossings.
    Aboveground facilities for the proposed Keystone XL Project would 
include 30 pump stations and 73 mainline valves (located within the 
ROW). The pump stations would enable Keystone to maintain the pressure 
required to make crude oil deliveries. Valves are proposed to be 
installed and located as dictated by the hydraulic characteristics of 
the pipeline and as required by Federal regulations. Construction of 
delivery metering and other facilities at Nederland and the Houston 
Ship Channel in Texas would measure the amount of product transported 
and delivered to terminals.

[[Page 5022]]

    A new tank farm would be required where the Keystone XL Project 
would intersect with the Keystone Cushing Extension near Steele City, 
Nebraska (Jefferson County). This tank farm would occupy approximately 
50 acres of land and consist of three, 350,000 barrel storage tanks 
with electrically driven pumps and other systems to manage the oil 
movements from the Keystone XL pipeline onto the Keystone Cushing 
    It is estimated that approximately 205 perennial water body 
crossings could occur during the proposed construction of the Keystone 
XL mainline. Approximately 33 of these would be crossed with the 
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method to avoid river and river 
bank impacts. Proposed major river crossings would include but are not 
limited to the Missouri, Milk, Niobrara, Yellowstone, Little Missouri, 
Cheyenne, White, Platte, Deep Fork, North Canadian, Canadian, Red, 
North Sulphur, South Sulphur, Angelina, Trinity, and San Jacinto 
Rivers. All of these major rivers would be crossed by the HDD 
construction method. Wetlands would be crossed by the proposed route.
    New pump stations and remotely-activated valves proposed to be 
located along the pipeline route would require electrical transmission 
power lines and facility upgrades in multiple locations along its 
route. These proposed electrical components would be constructed and 
operated by local power providers, not Keystone. The construction and 
operation of these facilities would be considered connected actions 
under NEPA and associated actions under MFSA and, therefore, will be 
evaluated within the EIS.
    Keystone plans to begin construction of the pipeline in 2010. 
Proposed construction would take place in phases, with the Gulf Coast 
Segment and Houston Lateral completed in 2011 and the Steele City 
Segment and tank farm completed in 2012. Proposed construction is 
planned to occur over an approximately 8-12 month period for each 

Land Requirements

    It is estimated that construction of the project as proposed would 
cause approximately 20,787 acres of land to be disturbed as temporary 
construction workspace. Of the 20,787 acres disturbed during 
construction, approximately 8,810 acres of land would be required as 
permanent ROW. Approximately 11,977 disturbed acres would be restored 
and returned to their previous use after construction. As proposed, 
approximately 2,441 acres of permanent ROW would not be restored to 
forested conditions, but rather herbaceous vegetation. Another 206 
acres would serve to provide adequate space for aboveground facilities, 
including pump stations, valves, etc. for the life of the pipeline. As 
currently proposed, 42.6 miles of federally owned lands would be 
crossed. This includes 42.2 miles of BLM land and 0.4 miles of 
Department of Defense land (managed by the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers). The number of miles of conservation easements administered 
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Conservation Reserve 
Program and Wetlands Reserve Program has not been determined at this 

The EIS Process

    NEPA requires the Department of State to take into account the 
environmental impacts that could result from the approval of a 
Presidential Permit authorizing construction, operation, and 
maintenance of pipeline facilities for the importation of crude oil to 
be located at the international border of the United States and Canada. 
The Department of State will use the EIS to assess the environmental 
impact that could result if Keystone is granted a Presidential permit 
for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. A third party contractor has been 
selected to prepare the EIS which will be reviewed by the Department of 
State and the cooperating agencies.
    NEPA also requires the Department of State and BLM to identify 
concerns the public may have about proposals under consideration by the 
Department of State. This process is referred to as ``scoping.'' The 
BLM plans to adopt the EIS as its analysis under NEPA if the document 
meets the stated purpose and need of BLM action. The purpose and need 
of the BLM action in this NOI is to process received application for 
MLA sand FLPMA rights-of-way grants for legal use and access across the 
Federal public lands under the BLM jurisdiction. At this time, BLM has 
determined no approved land use plans would require amendment if the 
proposal is approved. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus 
the analysis in the EIS on the important environmental issues. With 
this Notice of Intent, the Department of State is requesting public 
comments on the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EIS. All 
comments received during the scoping period will be considered during 
preparation of the EIS. Comments received after the close of the 
comment period will be considered to the extent practicable.
    In the EIS, the Department of State will discuss impacts that could 
occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed 
project under these general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     Water resources;
     Fish, wildlife, and vegetation;
     Threatened and endangered species;
     Cultural resources;
     Land use, recreation and special interest areas;
     Visual resources;
     Air quality and noise;
     Socioeconomics; and,
     Reliability and safety.
    In the EIS, the Department of State will also evaluate reasonable 
alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project and 
make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on affected 
resources. In addition, a ``no action alternative'' will be considered.
    The Department of State's independent analysis of the issues will 
be included in a draft EIS. The draft EIS will be published and mailed 
to relevant Federal, State, and local government agencies, elected 
officials, environmental and public interest groups, Indian tribes, 
affected landowners, commenters, local libraries, newspapers, and other 
interested parties. A 45-day comment period will be allotted for review 
of the draft EIS. We will consider all timely comments on the draft EIS 
and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    The EIS will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the 
construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed project. 
Currently identified issues that the Department believes warrant 
attention include:
     Construction rights-of-way and associated pipeline 
     Potential effects on farmland and soils with a high 
potential for compaction.
     Potential impacts to existing land uses, including 
agricultural, residential, range and pasture lands, and timber lands.
     Potential impacts to perennial and intermittent water 
     Potential temporary and permanent impacts on wetlands.
     Potential impacts to fish and wildlife habitat, including 
potential impacts to Federal and State-listed threatened and endangered 
     Potential impacts to state and federal lands, including 

[[Page 5023]]

managed areas under BLM jurisdiction and federally-managed conservation 
     Potential impacts to state-managed conservation lands.
     Potential impacts to historic and pre-historic cultural 
resource sites.
     Potential impacts and benefits of the construction 
workforce on local housing, infrastructure, public services and 
     Public safety and potential hazards associated with the 
transport of crude oil.
     Alternative alignments for the pipeline route.
     Assessment of the cumulative effect of the proposed 
project when combined with other past, present, or reasonably 
foreseeable future actions in the project area.
     Potential generation of greenhouse gasses.
     Public participation.
    This list of issues may be changed based on public comments and 
    You are encouraged to become involved in this process and provide 
your specific comments or concerns about the proposed project. By 
becoming a commenter, your concerns will be considered by the 
Department of State and addressed appropriately in the EIS. Your 
comments should focus on the potential environmental impacts, 
reasonable alternatives (including alternative facility sites and 
alternative pipeline routes), and measures to avoid or lessen 
environmental impacts. Parties interested in being involved in Section 
106 consultation should also contact the Department of State. The more 
specific your comments, the more useful they will be.
    The public scoping meetings identified above are designed to 
provide another opportunity to offer comments on the proposed project. 
Interested individuals and groups are encouraged to attend these 
meetings and to present comments on the environmental issues they 
believe should be addressed in the EIS. Again, written comments are 
considered with equal weight in the process relative to those received 
in public scoping meetings.

    Issued in Washington, DC on January 28, 2009:
Stephen J. Gallogly,
Director, Office of International Energy and Commodities Policy, 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. E9-1828 Filed 1-27-09; 8:45 am]