Last updated on: 4/11/2013 | Author:

Background Information on the 2008 Keystone XL Pipeline Application

This page contains information about the 2008 Keystone XL Pipeline application only, not the 2017 application resubmission, and is no longer updated.

On Jan. 18, 2012 President Obama denied the original 2008 application for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Information about the Aug. 26, 2011 Environmental Impact Statement from the State Department, as well as President Obama’s Jan. 18, 2012 statement denying the 2008 Keystone XL pipeline permit, appear below.

The US Department of State provided the following information in its Aug. 26, 2011, “Fact Sheet: Final Environmental Impact Statement,” available at

Source: US Department of State, “Keystone XL Pipeline Project,” (accessed Sep. 19, 2011)

“On August 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of State (the Department) issued the final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which, if approved, would run from Alberta, Canada to Texas… the Department is charged with making a determination as to whether a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline is in the US national interest.

TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (Keystone) filed an application in 2008 for a Presidential Permit with the Department of State to build and operate the Keystone XL Project. As shown on the map at right, the proposed Keystone XL Project consists of a 1700-mile crude oil pipeline and related facilities that would primarily be used to transport Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin crude oil [aka tar/oil sands] from an oil supply hub in Alberta, Canada to delivery points in Oklahoma and Texas…

The proposed project could transport up to 830,000 barrels per day and is estimated to cost $7 billion. If permitted, it would begin operation in 2013, with the actual date dependent on the necessary permits, approvals, and authorizations.”

[Editors Note: On Nov. 4, 2011 the Office of Inspector General at the State Department initiated a special review of the Aug. 26, 2011 Environmental Impact Statement. This review was in response to an Oct. 26, 2011 letter from US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) , and 13 other members of congress, that requested “an investigation into the State Department’s handling of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and National Interest Determination (NID) for the TransCanada Corporation’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.” The letter voiced concern over “actual or apparent conflicts of interest.”]

Aug. 26, 2011 – US Department of State
Executive Summary: Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Keystone XL Project

Barack Obama, 44th President of the US, stated the following in a Jan. 18, 2012 press release, “Statement by the President on the Keystone XL Pipeline,” available at

“Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As the State Department made clear last month [see Editor’s Note below], the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”

[Editor’s Note: On Nov. 10, 2011, the State Department issued an announcement that additional information was needed about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal, thus delaying the permit process. On that day President Obama issued a press release, “Statement by the President on the State Department’s Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement,” available at, President Obama stated: “I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood. The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people.”]

Jan. 18, 2012 – Barack Obama, JD