OTTAWA, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- TransCanada missed a construction start deadline for its Keystone XL pipeline because of regulatory delays in the United States, a Canadian energy union said.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union in Canada states that TransCanada has until Oct. 14 to respond to claims its construction permit expired. The union notes that TransCanada's permit stipulates that construction on the Keystone XL pipeline should have started by March 11.
"This is no technicality," union President Dave Coles said in a statement. "TransCanada missed its construction start deadlines because regulatory approval is more than a year late in the United States and there are still large doubts about whether there will be U.S. federal and state approvals."
The U.S. State Department, after determining the proposed pipeline wouldn't pose a significant environmental risk, announced in August that it expected to make a final decision on the project by the end of the year. Approval is needed because the project would cross national borders.
Critics note the planned route for Keystone XL passes through key groundwater supplies and migratory bird pathways. Alberta crude also poses more complex environmental risks than conventional crude, they said. Backers argue the project would do much to allay U.S. energy security concerns.
The Canadian union said it looked into claims from TransCanada that it started construction but found "only a faded sign and an empty grass field."