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API: 'No reason' for Keystone XL delays

July 31, 2012 at 6:31 AM

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute said there's "no reason" the U.S. government can't speed up approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Keystone XL, as currently proposed, would run approximately 854 miles from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb. There, it would connect to the existing Keystone oil pipeline that runs to a key trading hub in Cushing, Okla. Project company TransCanada is moving forward with construction of the associated Gulf Coast Project, which would extend to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.

TransCanada had reconsidered the pipeline's route through Nebraska to allay concerns about potential damage to a regional aquifer associated with the Sand Hills region.

The project needs federal approval because it would cross the U.S.-Canadian border. API Refining Manager Cindy Schild said the U.S. State Department should focus only on the new 88-mile section through Nebraska.

"There is no reason to further delay this critical jobs and national security project," she said in a statement. The rest of the project, said Schild, has already been reviewed.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, in a 68-page report, said the new Keystone XL corridor crosses areas that are technically outside the Sand Hills region but contain fragile soil structures that have "surface features very similar to the Sand Hills."

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