And while the debate has been going for five years, officials from the State Department caution they are no closer to finishing their environmental review. Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones told reporters, "The comment period is scheduled to close April 22 and then I can't really predict to you how long it will take to take the draft and finalize it." More than 300 people signed up to testify, each getting three minutes to speak their mind. It's estimated around 200 actually stepped up to a microphone. Numbers dwindled as the night carried on.
The environmental impact has been studied, and a final report on that subject will be released.
The next step is to determine if the project is in the national interest, which could be an intensive project involving several different government bureaucracies from the Department of Defense to Department of the Interior.