As the disasterous Kalamazoo spill highlights, the Keystone XL’s waterbody crossings pose an extreme environmental threat. Yet, while the Department of State’s (DOS) Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) does identify the pipeline’s waterbody crossings and references them by milepost (MP) marker, neither the DOS, TransCanada, nor the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will release the location data for the MP markers.
In mid-July that changed somewhat when environmental groups obtained, through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Gulf Coast waterbody crossing data for the Tulsa and Galveston District offices of USACE. Missing still is data from the USACE Fort Worth District Office. USACE offices only release the data after the offices have approved TransCanada’s application for a Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12). The NWP 12 allows the company to sidestep case-by-case waterbody environmental review by giving blanket approval for the entire route. While it is disheartening to see the pattern of obfuscation established by TransCanada and the DOS, adopted by USACE, it’s not surpising.
Construction of the Keystone’s Gulf Coast route began on Monday. The only obstacles remaining for TransCanda are a few landowner lawsuits and the Sierra Club.
The Keystone fight has also brought into question the use of eminent domain by private companies. One has to wonder how many landowners would have challenged TransCanada more forcefully had they not been bullied by eminent domain proceedings.
Updated to show the Waterbody Crossings, the new Keystone Mapping Project Google Earth view can be downloaded here:
A 2D map may be viewed here.