The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked for a more extensive review of the permitting for the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to the Associated Press.
The Agency is concerned the permits are not comprehensive enough. In a letter to the Army Crops of Engineers, an official in the EPA's branch that oversees Texas said the 61 water crossings near Galveston, Texas are too large for the broad permits TransCanada, the pipeline's developer, is seeking.
The official is seeking an environmental review which will include a public commenting period. In March, President Obama issued an Executive Order to expedite the permitting process for the southern portion of the massive pipeline.
The divisive project has been shrouded in all sorts of controversy, not the least of which is a lack of transparency. Landowners and residents of areas which would be affected by the pipeline have complained being withheld from the permitting process as a result of the lack of public information.
David Daniel, President of Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines and a Texas landwoner, said:
"On February 27, 2012, TransCanada began to circumvent the review process by announcing that, while waiting for the review process to be completed for the entire Keystone XL, it will segment the project and being building the Gulf Coast Segment. This segmentation has locked us out of public comments and our request for transparency has been denied by the natrure of the process itself."
He added, "we are the most impacted and we carry the primary burden and yet we have been left with being made invisible and feeling like lab rats on our own properties. We are fed up with the tactics, we demand transparency and an end to the stonewalling, we demand 404 permit reviews and EPA involvement, and we demand that our concerns be openly and publicly addressed."
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