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Pipeline from Cushing to Gulf Coast will proceed, TransCanada says

by Chris Casteel Modified: February 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm •  Published: February 27, 2012

TransCanada, which still must negotiate some easements and win approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Transportation Department, said it would treat landowners “with honesty, fairness and respect.”

The company said it had negotiated more than 99 percent of voluntary easements in Texas and close to 100 percent in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma officials

praise decision

Oklahoma elected officials hailed the announcement that the Oklahoma segment would proceed.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said the decision means Oklahoma “will finally have the infrastructure we need to transport our immense crude supplies, and this will greatly enhance our energy security.”

Inhofe, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the panel should hold a hearing in Cushing about what federal action is necessary to get the Cushing-to-Texas segment approved. The committee oversees the Army Corps of Engineers, the Transportation Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which also may have input.

He said he called Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee, to request the hearing.

“Of course, this smaller pipeline would in no way replace the need for the larger Keystone XL project, but a pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf is a no-brainer,” Inhofe said.

The Obama administration in November delayed consideration of the Keystone XL because of strong opposition in Nebraska to the pipeline's proposed route through an ecologically sensitive area.

However, as part of a December deal to extend the payroll tax cut, Republicans forced the administration to make a decision within two months. That resulted in the rejection last month since the Nebraska situation still hasn't been resolved.

TransCanada said Monday that it would supplement its new application with an alternative route through Nebraska once the route is selected.

Environmental groups, which have strongly opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, criticized TransCanada's decision on Monday to move ahead with the Gulf Coast project.

Kim Huynh, with the group Friends of the Earth, said, “Any attempt to move forward with any segment of the pipeline will be met with the same fierce grassroots opposition that stopped the pipeline the first time.

“We know that Big Oil will stop at nothing to further its profits, but it can't hide the dirty reality that importing more tar sands oil through our heartland endangers our land, water and climate. Friends of the Earth will continue to work to ensure that no part of this project is approved — not now, not ever.”

Keystone XL coming to Oklahoma, developer says
by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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