Crude Shipments Begin in Keystone Pipeline’s Southern Leg

CUSHING, OK - MARCH 22: Pipe is stacked at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma. U.S. President Barack Obama is pressing federal agencies to expedite the section of the Keystone XL pipeline between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Clare Foran
Jan. 22, 2014, 5:02 a.m.

Com­mer­cial ship­ments of crude oil began mov­ing through the south­ern leg of Tran­sCanada’s Key­stone pipeline on Wed­nes­day, even though the pro­ject’s pro­posed north­ern ex­ten­sion is still await­ing ap­prov­al.

The south­ern half of the pipeline, oth­er­wise known as the Gulf Coast Pro­ject, runs from Cush­ing, Okla., to Port Ar­thur, Texas. Be­cause it does not cross an in­ter­na­tion­al bound­ary, Tran­sCanada didn’t need ap­prov­al from the State De­part­ment to con­struct the pipeline. The north­ern leg, on the oth­er hand, re­quires a per­mit from State be­cause it would pass over the U.S. bor­der with Canada to reach Al­berta’s oil sands.

Once the de­part­ment com­pletes a fi­nal en­vir­on­ment­al as­sess­ment of the north­ern ex­ten­sion, Pres­id­ent Obama will have fi­nal say over wheth­er the pipeline is per­mit­ted. The pres­id­ent has said he will not ap­prove the north­ern half of the pro­ject un­less it does not sig­ni­fic­antly add to at­mo­spher­ic levels of car­bon di­ox­ide.

Green groups widely op­pose the north­ern ex­ten­sion, say­ing it will hasten oil-sands de­vel­op­ment in Canada. Cri­ti­cism has also been leveled at Tran­sCanada for build­ing the pipeline’s south­ern leg, with op­pon­ents of the pro­ject point­ing out the po­ten­tial for leaks or spills.

Key­stone back­ers, mean­while, say the pipeline will not have an ad­verse en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact and con­tend that pipelines are a safer mode of trans­port­a­tion for heavy crude than rail­roads and trucks.

Bill McK­ib­ben, the pres­id­ent and cofounder of en­vir­on­ment­al ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tion 350.org, sharply re­buked the ad­min­is­tra­tion on Wed­nes­day for al­low­ing the south­ern leg of the pro­ject to go for­ward.

“[This is] a shame­ful day — and a re­mind­er that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has boas­ted too of­ten about how many pipelines they’ve built, how much land they’ve opened to drilling and min­ing. Ex­ped­it­ing KXL south was not the mark of a pres­id­ent who really ‘gets’ cli­mate change,” McK­ib­ben said in a state­ment.

Mean­while, law­makers have threatened to take ac­tion on the pipeline if the pres­id­ent does not, with Sen. John Ho­even, R-N.D., say­ing earli­er this month he would con­sider at­tach­ing a vote on the pro­ject to debt-ceil­ing le­gis­la­tion.

In an event held Wed­nes­day to an­nounce the start of crude ship­ments through the pipeline, Tran­sCanada CEO Russ Girl­ing said he hopes that the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the south­ern leg of the pipeline will help win sup­port for the rest of the pro­ject to be built.

“The Gulf Coast pro­ject has its own pur­pose and util­ity but at the same time it was de­signed to be part of a lar­ger Key­stone sys­tem which in­cludes both the base Key­stone and Key­stone XL,” Girl­ing said. “As we’re bring­ing the Gulf Coast pro­ject in­to op­er­a­tion I think again [we’re] show­ing them that this pipeline can be op­er­ated safely and that should provide baseline evid­ence that Key­stone XL is just a pipeline and it can be built and op­er­ated safely.” 

What We're Following See More »
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
19 minutes ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
2 hours ago
BREAKING
WOULD PUSH DEADLINE TO MAY 5
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
2 hours ago
BREAKING

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Source:
WILL BE RENEGOTIATED
Trump: I’m Not Pulling Out of NAFTA
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump informed Mexican President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday afternoon that he will not pull the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite reports earlier in the day that he had considered doing so. ... The three leaders agreed to proceed quickly with renegotiation plans as the initial review process comes to a close."

Source:
NEVADA LAWMAKERS STILL NOT SATISFIED
House Puts Yucca Mountain Back on the Table
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A new bill to revive a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., fails to address the concerns of Nevada lawmakers, suggesting the latest attempt may not resolve a 20-year impasse over the issue." The state's congressional delegation "shared their opposition to the nuclear waste policy amendment during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing focused on the legislation," and promised that Gov. Brian Sandoval would oppose it at every turn. "The new bill aims to finally use some $31 billion that has accumulated in the Nuclear Waste Fund, set aside in 1982 to collect specifically for a permanent repository."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login