Environmental Expert Witnesses & Keystone XL Project

Environmental expert witnesses may write reports and testify on environmental forensics, environmental health and safety, and environmental impact studies, EPA regulation, water pollution and more. The State Department released the Keystone XL pipeline environmental review last month and the report forecast that the project would have minimal environmental impact. This week the inspector general found that the review was not biased and was handled properly. The project would connect tar sands oil in Canada to refineries in Texas.

The proposed Keystone XL project consists of a 875-mile long pipeline and related facilities to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana. The pipeline would cross the U.S. border near Morgan, Montana and continue through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska where it would connect to existing pipeline facilities near Steele City, Nebraska, for onward delivery to Cushing, Oklahoma, and the Gulf Coast area.

On February 26, 2014, the Dept. of State issued:
State Dept. on Step in Environmental Review of Keystone Pipeline
Completion of Compliance Follow-up Review for the Selection of Third-Party Contractor o Assist in Environmental Impact Statement Preparation for the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline
Today, the State Department Office of Inspector General released its Compliance Follow-up Review of the Department’s choice of a third-party contractor to assist the Department in preparing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. We have been pleased to work with the Office of Inspector General during this process.

The Review found that our processes not only avoided conflicts of interest, but were more rigorous than required. We welcome findings in this Review that “the process used to assess organizational conflicts of interest was effective” and that the Department’s process to select Environmental Resources Management “substantially followed and at times was more rigorous than its prescribed Guidance.”

We continue to work to improve and strengthen the procedures for selecting third-party contractors and assessing potential conflicts of interest. We welcome the recommendations in the OIG’s Review that will contribute to improved guidelines, documentation, and sharing of information. As noted in the OIG Review, we had already begun implementing changes in our process consistent with some of the recommendations, and we look forward to further implementing these recommendations.