State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said the administration did not have a timeline on the Keystone Pipeline during Tuesday's briefing, claiming that the department had in fact never had one.
Fox News reported the State Department's confirmation Monday that its final report on the Keystone XL Pipeline would not be completed 2014 but claimed the projected completion date is not based on the agency awaiting a separate inspector general’s report on possible conflicts of interest:
MATT LEE: There was a report yesterday or the day before, I think — I can't remember when it was — that said that the State Department was saying now that the review — the Keystone review would not be done until 2014. Is that correct?
HARF: I think we've been clear from the beginning that we don't have a timeline. We haven't put a timeline on when the review will be done. We are, as I said before, reviewing the application in a rigorous, transparent and efficient manner, but we've never put a timeline on it and I don't have one for you now.
LEE: OK. But that's not entirely true. There was a timeline put on it before. I mean, people had talked about the — you know, not a decision, but in terms of the — in terms of the environmental impact statement and the redo of the EIS after the route change.
HARF: But what I'm referring to, I think that the reports refer to, is the final — the final —
LEE: Well, maybe I misread it, but i thought it was about the — I'm not — I realize that the final decision — you know, the president has delegated that it will come, but I'm talking about the environmental impact statement.
HARF: Yeah, the final environmental — will be — again, will be released after additional analysis and the issues identified in all of the public comments have been incorporated. That process is ongoing. I believe there is over 1.2 million, if that number's correct.
LEE: Something like that.
HARF: That takes awhile. But it's my understanding that we haven't put a timeline on that and aren't now.
LEE: Do you have any idea how many of the millions of — or however many million comments it is have been gone through? I mean, do you know where in the process they are? Are they still going through the comments? Have they gone through the comments, and they're incorporating them into the report now, where it is?
HARF: Well, let me get some more details for you on that. I actually just don't know the answer. I know there's a team of people looking into this right now. I just don't know.
LEE: All right. But it is not correct or it is correct that the State Department has said that it won't be finished until 2014?
HARF: Not to my knowledge. Not to my knowledge. And again, I'm not putting a timeline on it here.
LEE: OK, but a report that said that you — that the State Department has said that it won't be finished until 2014 would not be correct, right?
HARF: I have — that's my understanding, yes. I've certainly never said it.
LEE: All right. Thank you.