Here is a brief overview of the Keystone XL situation and a few more helpful links. The instructions for submitting comments and links to the Climate Progress and Washington Post articles are in the meeting notes.
The State Department released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Keystone XL on January 31st.
This began the State Department’s 90 day National Interest Determination process, after which John Kerry will make a formal recommendation to President Obama, who will make the final decision.
Right now, there is a public comment period that closes March 7.
Obama said in June that KXL will only be in our national interest if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
The EIS says that “The total direct and indirect emissions associated with the proposed Project would contribute to cumulative global GHG emissions.”
But, the EIS indicates that the emissions will happen even without KXL because the tar sands oil will still be extracted and be transported some other way such as trains. It says that “the proposed Project is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction in oil sands areas (based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios).”
The State Department’s Inspector General is conducting an inquiry into whether Environmental Resources Management (the contractor tasked with the study) failed to disclose recent work it did for TransCanada (the company proposing to build KXL), which would mean there is a conflict of interest.
The executive summary of the EIS is here: http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221135.pdf
This article from Reuters explains economic reasons that shipping by rail is unlikely to be a viable alternative: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/18/us-usa-keystone-railroads-idUSBRE93H07I20130418
And a LA Times article about the EIS release: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-keystone-xl-climate-state-department-20140131,0,7560529.story#axzz2td15zNEr