Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves Keystone XL plans
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, June 30, 2012
6/30/12 at 4:49 AM
Federal officials in Tulsa have approved TransCanada's plan to build a portion of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from the Cushing hub into North Texas, a company official confirmed Friday.
The Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers OK'd the Keystone XL's wetlands and water-body crossing plans 45 days after TransCanada Corp. submitted them. The go-ahead comes despite protests by environmentalists against the transport of thick Canadian tar-sands crude across U.S. rivers and wetlands.
Keystone XL received approval earlier this week from the Galveston District of the Corps for the final leg into the Texas Gulf Coast. The project still awaits a permit from the Corps' Fort Worth District.
"We continue to believe that we will be in a position to begin construction later this summer and are working with the Corps and others to secure the approvals and permits we require," a statement from Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada says. "Once the Gulf Coast Project is completed, it will help move both Canadian and American oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast, where it is critically needed."
The Tulsa Corps office did not hold public hearings on the Keystone application.
A group of about 12 pipeline opponents protested the project on a downtown street corner Wednesday, but they were countered by several dozen union members who said it would create thousands of jobs.
The Keystone will cross under several Oklahoma waterways, including the Cimarron, North Canadian and Red rivers.
Opponents question the job estimates and said tar sands crude, a thick substance called bitumin, causes more environmental damage because of pipeline leaks and the extensive processing necessary for the heavy substance.
"It's not worth the destruction of our climate," protest organizer Earl Hatley said Wednesday. "That's being very shortsighted."
The Keystone also awaits a federal nod for a leg from the Canadian border to Steele City, Neb. President Barack Obama withheld his approval last year after Nebraska lawmakers raised concerns about the pipeline's route through the Sand Hills and over the giant Ogallala Aquifer.
A portion from Steele City to Cushing already is completed and operational. The entire Keystone XL project is estimated to generate at least $7 billion once completed.
Original Print Headline: Army Corps of Engineers approves Keystone XL plans
Rod Walton 918-581-8457