TransCanada’s proposed new pipeline construction project to carry tar sands oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast received considerable scrutiny when initially proposed. Because the new pipeline crosses an international border, it requires a Presidential Permit from the State Department, and that process in turn requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under NEPA. The State Department issued a draft EIS in 2011, but the Administration rejected it in early 2012, and requested that a new route be considered. The draft SEIS issued as a result of this request does not identify any environmental effects of the pipeline that would preclude issuance of a Presidential Permit, but it also does not contain a recommended alternative, instead leaving that decision to the Administration. Earlier this year, the Governor of Nebraska advised the Administration of his approval of a revised route that avoids the Nebraska Sand Hills region, and recommended that the state Final Evaluation Report of the route be included in the federal SEIS. Although the draft SEIS was announced on March 1st, formal publication of a notice of availability was not published until March 8, 2012. The 45 day public comment period runs through April 22, 2013, but given the intense public interest in the Keystone project, it is likely that this comment period may be extended. Click here for the Federal Register Notice.