By Ben Geman - 04/09/13 06:59 PM EDT
He noted that the State Department’s latest environmental study is currently receiving comment, and that when it’s finalized, several more steps will follow.
Here’s his assessment, in testimony to a House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel, of what follows the study:
[T]he Department is expected to re-initiate the National Interest review with an as-yet undefined time frame. That is followed by the issuance of a Record of Decision and a National Interest Determination. At that point, a number of agencies (many of whom have been participants in the ongoing reviews since 2008) will have the opportunity to comment on the issuance of a Presidential Permit. If no agency objects within 15 days, the State Department is free to issue a Permit. If there is an objection, it is addressed through interagency consultation. If that consultation fails, the entire matter is referred back to the President for a decision. Accordingly, it appears that a decision on the pending Presidential Permit application is many more months down the road.
The Obama administration has not provided a firm timeline for a final decision on the pipeline.
Pourbaix voices support for the legislation, which contains language supporting Keystone and finds that the years-long review has been sufficient to proceed with construction.
“I would like to express TransCanada’s appreciation for the sentiments behind the recently proposed Northern Route Approval Act, which would remove the requirement for a Presidential Permit for KXL and grant the additional federal approvals and authorizations needed for construction. We believe the legislation contains a number of important findings that highlight and confirm the importance of the Project to the energy security and economic well-being of the United States,” he says in the prepared remarks for Wednesday’s hearing.
Pourbaix is TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines.