"The EIS is in the final stages of preparation and we anticipate a release of the document soon," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The comments give the first insight into where the assessment stands. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered no timetable for the U.S. decision on TransCanada Corp's planned Keystone XL pipeline when he addressed the issue on Jan. 17 during a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird.
Earlier Baird, Canada's foreign minister, had bluntly told the United States to end the "limbo' on the approval process for the pipeline, conceding that Washington might veto the project.
The State Department official said the release of the controversial final environmental statement for the pipeline was "not a decision but another step in the process prescribed by the executive order."