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Keystone XL pipeline: TransCanada tries again

The Canadian firm has submitted new plans for a pipeline that is designed to avoid environmentally-sensitive acreage in Nebraska.

By Matthew DalyAssociated Press / May 4, 2012

Russ Girling president and CEO of TransCanada, talks about the Keystone XL pipeline during the company's annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta April 27.

Todd Korol/REUTERS

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Washington

The Canadian company trying to build the disputed Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. submitted a new application for the project Friday after changing the route to avoid environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska.

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TransCanada said it applied again to the State Department for permission to build the pipeline to carry oil from so-called tar sands in western Canada to a company hub in Steele City, Neb. From there, the project would link up with other pipelines operated by the company to carry oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

President Barack Obama blocked the pipeline earlier this year, citing uncertainty over the Nebraska route - a decision that drew fire from Republicans and industry groups.

RELATED: How the Keystone XL pipeline would help the US and why some oppose it

TransCanada had proposed a new route last month that would veer east around the groundwater-rich Sandhills region before looping back to the original route.

State Department approval is needed because the $7 billion pipeline would cross a U.S. border. The department confirmed Friday the application for the new route had been received.

The pipeline filing came on the same day as a disappointing report on U.S. job growth. The Labor Department said employers pulled back on hiring in April for the second straight month, evidence of an economy still growing only sluggishly, though the overall jobless rate slipped to 8.1 percent as more people gave up looking for work.

Obama is under pressure to support the pipeline from Republicans and business and labor leaders who argue it would create jobs; the State Department estimates it could result in up to 6,000 new jobs.

"The multi-billion dollar Keystone XL pipeline project will reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil and support job growth by putting thousands of Americans to work," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "Keystone XL will transport U.S. crude oil from the very large Bakken supply basin in Montana and North Dakota, along with Canadian oil, to U.S. refineries."

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