The State Department is preparing a report that will probably disappoint environmentalists and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to people who have been briefed on the draft of the document.
While the report will deviate from a March draft in some ways to the liking of environmentalists, the changes won't be as sweeping as they had sought, several people familiar with the government's deliberations said. Changes could still be made to the report before its release, which could come as early as today.
The March draft concluded that the pipeline would have only a minimal impact on carbon emissions, because the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, will be developed anyway. Several people said they expected the final report to keep that conclusion.
The release of the statement will kick off a separate review in which President Barack Obama must decide whether building the pipeline is in the national interest.
The national interest determination will weigh factors other than environmental risks, including its importance to the U.S.-Canada relationship, the economic benefits it offers to local communities and how it would improve U.S. energy security. Eight federal agencies have 90 days to give their views to the State Department, which has jurisdiction because the Keystone XL would cross an international border.
In another development, Keystone XL opponents say they want to block it by showing that two oil pipelines from Canada to the U.S. are worse than one.
The Sierra Club, along with 15 other groups, said the Keystone XL and the proposed expanded Alberta Clipper line should be reviewed together for their impacts on global climate change.