Obviously: State's Keystone pipeline review is "insufficient," says the EPA

You must be joking.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) objected Monday to the State Department’s draft review of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline route, saying it included “insufficient information” on environmental issues.

In a comment on the State Department’s draft environmental impact statement for the project, EPA said Foggy Bottom failed to fully consider alternative routes for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

EPA said the draft review “does not provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes, which would parallel the existing Keystone Pipeline and likely further reduce potential environmental impacts to groundwater resources.”

Further, EPA urged the State Department to revisit its suggestion that Keystone would not expedite production of Canada’s carbon-intensive oil sands or significantly ramp up greenhouse gas emissions — two major assertions made by the pipeline’s critics.

It said the State Department used an outdated “energy-economic modeling effort” in its analysis that concluded oil sands would find its way to market without Keystone — likely through rail transport.

Yes, EPA, because I’m sure that the United States declining to participate in the development of Canada’s oil resources means that Canada is just going to cut bait and then give up, forever to sit atop their vast reserves twiddling their thumbs, rather than finding alternate means of transport or seeking other markets in this big ol’ energy-ravenous world of ours. Compelling argument, really.

The EPA is oh-so-genuinely hoping that the State Department will more fully vet the pipeline’s alternative options, recommending that the final environmental impact statement “either provide more detailed information as to why these alternatives were not considered reasonable or analyze these alternatives in more detail” — which of course is bureaucratic code for “take your sweet, sweet time on behalf of the taxpayers and help President Obama avoid making this politically tough and inconvenient decision for as long as possible.”

Talk about creating a monster. The Obama administration stalled on the super-controversial-but-actually-just-a-run-of-the-mill-pipeline decision before the presidential election, but the issue has only gained momentum with every interested party the longer they’ve waited — and now they’re left with the highly visible problem while the president is hoping to retake Congress in 2014. (They couldn’t possibly manage to find enough excuses to delay on the decision until after next November, could they? Could they?!)

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