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Pipes Worth $200 Million Sit as Washington Fights Over Keystone XL Pipes Worth $200 Million Sit as Washington Fights Over Keystone XL

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The New Energy Paradigm

Pipes Worth $200 Million Sit as Washington Fights Over Keystone XL

photo of Amy Harder
August 14, 2013

GASCOYNE, N.D.—Miles from anywhere, North Dakota, 218 miles of pipe lies dormant in a field, waiting for a resolution in the fight over the most famous pipeline in the world, the Keystone XL. This tiny town has just 16 people, according to 2010 Census numbers, the most recent available. A National Journal Daily reporter visited the pipe yard last week with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., two of his staff, three representatives from TransCanada and a local reporter. Click here for a photo gallery of the visit, and click here for a graphic on the pipeline and this anonymous field it's calling home for now.

Streets lined with pipes fill this 83-acre field leased by TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline. TransCanada says the pipes are stored safely. A protectant is used on the exposed lines. Those near the ground are covered, as shown here, so snow and small animals can't get in.(Amy Harder)

Wildflowers have grown around the pipes, which TransCanada first put here in this field near Gascoyne, N.D., a town of fewer than 20 people, in the latter half of 2011.(Amy Harder)

"There's millions worth of pipe sitting on the ground when it should be in the ground," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., pictured here. He has pushed legislation in the past few years to try to go around President Obama, whose State Department has authority to decide the project's fate, and deem it approved.(Amy Harder)


The view of the pipes in the 83-acre field from the closest two-lane road.(Amy Harder)

TransCanada representatives describe the pipes to Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. Pictured from left: John DeVille, senior logistics manager for TransCanada; Hoeven; Rick Perkins, project manager for TransCanada; and Bud Anderson, an independent contractor for TransCanada.(Amy Harder)

This piece of machinery is used to move the pipes.(Amy Harder)


The protectant, which TransCanada says is used to protect the pipes from weather elements, is seen on a row of pipes.(Amy Harder)

When asked what is going through his mind as he's looking out over the field of pipes, Hoeven says: "That we're going to get this project approved." Obama is expected to make a decision, one delayed by at least two years, by year's end. But that could slip into 2014.(Amy Harder)

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