Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TransCanada Opens Southern Leg of Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada is shipping crude oil through the southern leg of the $5.3 billion Keystone pipeline.  This will ease the bottleneck at the storage-tank farms in Cushing, Oklahoma and will feed petroleum to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.  The southern portion is now called the Gulf Coast Pipeline.  It did not require State Department approval, but received approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers.

TransCanada is still waiting for the State Department to decide whether to issue a permit for the 1,179-mile northern leg that would carry predominantly heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands thrugh Montana.

Meanwhile, the outlook for a State Department decision is still pendign because it is completing its final environmental-impact statement. The State Department is working on its second environmental impact statement after controversy discredited an earlier version and after TransCanada submitted a revised pipeline route to avoid more of the ecologically sensitive parts of Nebraska and more, but not all, of the enormous Ogallala Aquifer.

The current draft environmental-impact statement, among other things, states that the pipeline would have limited climate impact because oil from Canada’s tar sands, which require more energy to tap and therefore emit more greenhouse gases, would reach U.S. refineries anyway via railroads. (Wash Post, 1/21/2014)

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