Map Update: Keystone XL North

With the release of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) by the Department of State (DoS) on January 31, 2014, one would think more clarity would have been brought to the Keystone XL route and the pipeline’s impacts. In January of 2013, I was told by the DoS that the agency had milepost data to 1/10th of a mile and that updated maps and waterbody tables would be included in an upcoming report. Now a year later, the report has just been released and, not only is the milepost data still missing, but updated route maps have been redacted “as sensitive information not for public distribution.” (Appendix B,C,&D). The Environmental Report’s author, Exponent, does not seem to be aware that both PHMSA and FERC consider pipeline data public and that the pipeline route will be easily located once construction begins. Upon completion, marker stakes will caution construction crews to the buried pipeline. The route maps from the 2008 FEIS and 2009 SEIS, sans latitude/longitude data, remain online.

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR), and the South Dakota Public Utility Commission (SD PUC) all claim that they do not have the most current route data. TransCanada will submit route data to these agencies after the White House approves the project and forty-five days before construction begins. Evidently, at that point the data ceases to be “sensitive.”

According the South Dakota Keystone Public Liaison officer – an appointee of the the SD PUC who is paid by TransCanada to deal with landowner issues, since 2009 many groups have been visiting South Dakota to survey the route, including Native American tribes, biologists, archaeologists, and engineers, related and unrelated to TransCanada. This indicates a much broader interest in the route. So why aren’t state and Federal agencies making this GIS data publicly available?

Now, courtesy of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has filled in in many of the gaps by releasing the August 2012 centerline map of the Keystone XL. For the Montana section this newly released route falls within the MDEQ’s currently publicized 500 foot corridor. The Nebraska segment is identical to the revised centerline route released in the May 1, 2013 SEIS. In contrast, the South Dakota route shows nearly 30 changes. Route changes can be cross referenced to tables on the DSEIS (8 MB) and FSEIS (8 MB).