Green groups are dismissing reports that the State Department's highly anticipated environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline will be a setback for their efforts to stop the project.
The department's Environmental Impact Statement on TransCanada Corp.'s proposed pipeline is expected to be released Friday afternoon, according to multiple reports. Sources who have been briefed on the draft told Bloomberg News the results will likely disappoint environmental groups opposed to the pipeline.
"Canadian officials and industry groups are the only ones who seem to know what's in the report but not any congressional members — at least on the Democratic side," said Ross Hammond of Friends of the Earth, adding that he remains positive President Obama will reject the pipeline.
The Sierra Club said it's confident that the State Department's analysis will reflect environmentalists' concerns about the project.
"It's the American Petroleum Institute saying the report is not going to be good for environmentalists," Kate Colarulli said. "I think once we are able to read the whole report though, environmentalists will not be disappointed."
"I am optimistic because we had an industry contractor and they weren't able to produce a report that wasn't wholeheartedly in the [industry's] favor."
Colarulli said this report will leave the decision to Obama and she trusts him to make the right decision.
But there's another step in the process before the pipeline decision reaches the president. After the environmental review is released, there will be an interagency review of whether the pipeline is in the nation's best interest. There will also be a public comment period occurring simultaneously.
During the public comment period, the Sierra Club is planning vigils to protest the pipeline, which would carry crude from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to Gulf refineries.
All of that will take about 90 days, putting the decision in Obama's hands by early summer.