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Keystone Xl Project Epa Comment Letter 20110125

Keystone Xl Project Epa Comment Letter 20110125

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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTiON AGENCY WASHINGTON, D.C, 20460
JUN
()S
2011
ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE 
Mr.
Jose
W.Fe
rn
andez
Assista
nt
SecretaryEconomic. Energya
nd
Business
Aff
airs
U.S. DepartmentofState
Was
hi
nglon, DC 20520
Dr.
K
er
ri-Ann Jones
AssistantSecretary
Oceansand InternationalEnvironmentaland
Sc
ientificAffairsU.S.Department
of
State
Washington,DC 20520 Dear Mr.
Fe
rnandezand D
r.
Jones: Inaccordance with
our
authoritiesundertheNationalEnvironmentalPo
li
cyAct(NEllA).
th
e Counc
il
onEnvironmental Quality (CEQ)NEPAr
eg
ulations,andSection309 ofthe Clean A
ir
Act,EPA hasreviewed theSup
pl
ementalDraftEnvironmentalImpact Statement(SDEIS)
fo
rTransCanada'sproposedKeystone XL Pr
ojec
t("Project").EPA reviewed theDraftEnvironmental ImpactStatement(DEIS) for this projectand submittedcomments
in
Julyof2010.Atthattime EPAratedtheDEISas"
In
adequate-
3"
becausepotentia
ll
ysignificant
im
pacts were not evaluated and addi
ti
onal in
fo
rma
ti
on andanalyseswere necessarytoensurethat
th
e EIS fully
inf
ormed decision makers and the public aboutpotentialcon
se
quences
of
theKeystoneXLProject. Sincethattime,
th
e StateDepartment
ha
s worked dilige
nt
lytodevelop additional information and analysisin
re
sponseto E
PA'
scomments andthelargenumber
of
other comments
re
ceivedon
th
eDEI
S.
Th
e StateDepartment alsomade a
ve
ryconstruc
ti
vedecision
10
seek
fu
rtherpub
li
crevi
ew
andcommentthrough publication
of
theSDEIS.tohelpthepublicand decision makers carefu
ll
yweigh the environmentalcosts andbenefits
of
transportingoilsandscrudefromCanada todeliverypoints inOklahomaandTexas.The consideration
of
theenvironmentalimpactsassociated
wi
thcons
tr
uct
in
gandopera
ti
ng thisproposed pipe
li
ne isespecia
ll
yimportant giventhatcurre
nt
excesspipelinecapacityfor transportingoil
sa
nd
scrude
to
theUnitedStateswill
li
kely
per
sist unt
il
after2020,asnotedinthe SDEI
S.
WhiletheSDEIShasmade progressin responding to EPA
's
comments on
th
eDElSandprovidinginformation necessaryfor mak
in
g an informeddecision,EPA be
li
eves additionalanalysisisnecessary
10
fully respondto
our
ea
rl
iercommentsand toensurea
fu
ll
evaluation
of
InternelAddress
(URl)
_
nnp
'""""",,_
.gov
RecyclelVRecyclable
_
Pnnlecl"
~h
Vegetable Oil
B.a$&d
Inks
on
1 ~ .
Poslconsumer. Process Chlorine Flee RecycledPaper 
 
the pote
nti
al
impacts
of
proposedProject,andto identify potentialmeanstomitigate those impacts.AsEPA and
th
e StateDepartmenthave
di
scussed manytimes,E
PA
recomm
en
ds that
th
e Sta
te
Department
im
prove the anal
ys
is ofo
il
spill
ri
sksanda
lt
ernativepipeline routes, provideaddi
ti
o
na
l analysis of potentialimp
ac
tsto communitiesalong
th
epipelinerouteand adjace
nt
torefineriesandtheassociatedenviro
nm
e
nt
aljusticeconcerns,togetherwith ways
to
mitigatethoseimpacts,improvethe discussion
of
lifecycle greenhouse gas e
mi
ssions (OHOs) associated
wi
thoilsands c
ru
de, andimp
ro
vetheanal
ys
isofpotentialimpactsto wetlandsand
mi
gratory
bi
rd
populations.
We
areencouragedby
th
eStateDepartme
nt
's
agreeme
nt
toincludesome oftheseadditional analyses
in
the
Fi
n
al
En
viro
nm
en
ta
lImpactStatement(F
in
al
EIS).
We
ha
ve
noted thoseagreeme
nt
sin
th
isletter, andlookforwardto working with
yo
uto develop these analyses
fo
rtheFinalEIS. Pi
pel
ine
Safety/O
il
SpillRis
ks
EPA
istheleadfederal responseagencyforrespondingtooils
pi
ll
soccurring
in
andaround
inl
andw
at
ers.As part
of
th
a1
responsi
bili
ty, wehave cons
id
erable experience work
in
gtopre
ve
nt
andrespo
nd
too
il
s
pi
ll
s.Pipelineoilspillsare a veryreal conce
rn
, as wesaw duringthe twopipel
in
e spills inMichigan and
Ill
inois lastsummer.Just
in
thelast month,theKeystone Pipeline
ex
perienced twoleaks
(i
nNorth Dakotaand
Kan
sas), one
of
w
hi
chwasbroughtto
th
ecompany'satten
ti
on byalocal citizen. Theseleaks
re
su
lt
ed inshut-downs andissuance
of
anorderto TransCan
ad
afromthePipelineandHazardousMaterials SafetyAdministration (P
HM
SA),requiringthatcorrectivemeasuresbeta
ke
n prior to
th
esubsequently approvedresta
rt
of
operations.
PI-IM
SA's
O
rd
erof June
3,
20
II
fortheKeystonePipeline-which
al
socarriesCanadianoilsandscrude o
il
a
nd
isoperated by
th
esame company as the proposed KeystoneXL
Proj
ect
~
wasbasedon thehaza
rd
ousnature
of
th
eproductthat
th
e
pi
pe
li
netransportsa
nd
thepotent
ia
lthatthe conditions causingthe failuresthatled
to
therecentspillswere prese
nt
elsewhereon
th
epipelin
e.
These events, whichoccurredafterEP
A's
comment
le
tteron the DEI
S.
underscorethecomme
nt
saboutthen
ee
dtocarefu
ll
yconsiderboththe route
of
th
eproposed
Ke
ystone XLPipelineand approp
ri
atemeas
ur
estoprevent anddetecta spill. Wehaveseveralreco
mm
endationsforadd
iti
onala
na
lyses
th
atrelateto
th
epotentialf
or
oi
lspills,as well as
th
e
po
tenti
al
impacts andimplicationsforresponseactivities
in
theeventofa pipeline
le
akorruptur
e.
Werecommenda
nd
appreciate
your
agreement
th
at theF
in
al
EI
Susedatafrom the National
Re
sponseCenter,whieh reportsamore comprehensive set
of
hi
storical spilleventsth
an
thePipelineandHazardousMaterialSafetyAdministration
's
incident database, to assesstherisk
of
aspillfromtheproposedpipeline.Wi
th
respectto
th
es
pi
ll
detection systemsproposedby
th
eapplicant,werema
in
concernedth
at
relyingsolelyon pressuredrops and
ae
rialsurveystodetectleaksmayresultinsmallerleaksgo
in
gundetected
fo
rsomelime,
re
sultingin potentiallylarges
pi
ll
volumes.
In
light
of
those concerns,we alsoappreciate
your
ag
reementthat
th
eFinalEISconsideradditionalmeas
ur
es
to
reduce
th
e
ri
sksofundetected leak
s.
Fo
rexample,requiring ground-level
in
spections
of
valves ando
th
erpartsof
th
esystem severaltimesperyea
r,in
addition to aerialpatrols,cou
ld
improvetheabilitytodetectleaks or spi
ll
sandminimize any damage. The SDElS indicatesth
at
th
eremaybea "minor"increasein thenumber
of
mainline
va
lvesinstalledtoisolatepipelinesegme
nt
sand limitimpacts
of
as
pi
ll
,compared
to
whatwas
2
 
originallyreportedin theDEIS (SDEIS,p
g.
2-4).However,no detailed information ordecision cri
te
r
ia
arc providedwithregardto thenumber ofvalves, ortheir location.
In
orderto evaluate potentialmeasurestomitigate accident
al
re
leases,we appreciateyour agreementtopro
vi
dead
di
t
io
nalinfonnationintheFinalEIS onthenumber a
nd
location
of
th
e valvesthatw
ill
beinsta
ll
ed and to eva
lu
atethe
fe
asibility
of
in
creasing thenumber
of
valves
in
more vulnerable areas.
Fo
rexample,itmay be appropriate toincrease
th
enumber
of
valveswherethe watertable is sha
ll
ow
,orwhere anaqui
fe
r is overlain by
hi
ghlypenneablesoils, such astheOgallala aquifer.
We
alsorecomme
nd
considera
ti
on of
ex
te
rn
alpipeleak de
te
c
ti
onsystems
in
th
ese areas
to
improvethe abilityto detect pi
nh
ole (a
nd
greater)leaks
th
atcouldbesubstantial,
ye
tbe
lo
w
th
e
se
ns
itivit
y
of
the curre
nt
ly proposedleakdetec
ti
onsystems.Inaddition,while we
und
ersta
nd
that
va
lves arenot proposed to be locatedat watercross
in
gsthatareless than100 feetw
id
e, werecomme
nd
thatthe
Fi
nal EISnevertheless cons
id
er thepotentialbene
fit
s
of
ins
ta
lling
va
lves at watercross
in
gsle
ss
than100feet wide wherethereare sens
iti
veaqua
ti
creso
ur
ces.
Pr
ed
icting
th
e f
at
e a
nd
transport
of
spilledoilis
al
so
im
po
rt
antto establish po
te
ntial
im
pactsand develop response strategies.Wh
il
ethe SDEIS providesadditional
inf
onnation abo
ut
t
he di
fferent
cl
asses
of
c
ru
de oilsthat m
ay
transpo
rt
ed,we recomme
nd
theFinalEIS evaluate each class
of
crudethatwi
ll
be
transpo
rt
ed, howitwill behave
in
th
e envi
ro
nment,and qua
li
tativelydiscussthe potentialissues associ
at
ed with responding to asp
ill
given different types
of
cr
ud
e oils anddiluen
ts
used.
Wi
thregardtothe che
mi
calnature
of
thed
il
u
en
tsth
at
are addedtoreducethe viscosity ofbit
um
en, the SDEIS sLates"the exact compositionmay varybetweenship
pers
andis consi
de
r
ed
proprietaryinfonnation"
(S
DElS,pg.3-104
).We
be
lieve ananalysis
of
pote
nt
ialdiluents
is
impo
rt
antto estab
li
sh
th
epote
nt
ia
l healthand enviro
nm
e
nt
al impacts
of
anyspi
ll
ed
oi
l,andresponder/wor
ke
rsafet
y,
and
to
develop response strategies.In therecentEnbridge o
il
spi
ll
in
Mi
c
hi
gan, for example, benzene was a compone
nt
of
thedilue
nt
used
to
reduce the
vi
scosity
of
the oilsa
nd
scrude so thatitcould betranspo
rt
edth
ro
ughapipe
li
n
e.
Be
nzeneis a volatile org
an
ic compound, a
nd
followingthes
pill
inMic
hi
gan,
hi
gh benzenelev
el
s
in
th
eairpromptedthei
ss
uance
of
vol
un
tary evacu
at
ionnoticestores
id
ents
in
th
e area bythelocal county hea
lth
departmen
t.
S
im
ilarly, a
lt
hough
th
e SDEIS provides add
iti
onal i
nf
o
rm
ationon thepot
en
t
ia
limp
ac
t
of
s
pi
ll
s ongrou
nd
water,we recomme
nd
that
th
eFinalEISimprovethe
ri
skassessment
by
in
cludingspeci
fi
cinformation
0
11
the groundwaterrecharge areasalong the
pipe
liner
Oll
te,recog
ni
zi
ng
th
at
th
ese areas aremoresusceptibleto groundwatercontamina
ti
onfrom
oi
lspi
ll
s.
We
appreciatethat the SDEIS prov
id
es
add
it
io
nal
in
formationaboutthefeasibi
li
tyofa
lt
e
rn
at
ivepipeline rouLesthatwouldreduce therisk
of
adverseimpactstotheOga
ll
alaaquifer,
by re
-
ro
uting the pipe
li
nesoit doesnot crossthe aquife
r.
Many commenters,incl
ud
ingEPA, expressedconcernsoverthe potentialimpacts tothisimpo
rt
antresource duringthereviewofthe DEI
S.
If aspilldid occur, the pote
nt
ialforoilto reachgroundwater in theseareasis
re
latively
hi
ghgivenshallow watertabledepths and the
hi
gh
pe
nneab
il
ity
of
thesoilsove
rl
yi
ng
the
aq
ui
fer.
In
addition,we are conce
rn
ed thatcrude o
il
canremain
in
the subsurfacefor decades, desp
it
e effortstoremovethe o
il
andnatural microbi
al
remediation. 3

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