Work starts on U.S. leg of Keystone XL

Aug. 17, 2012 at 5:49 AM

HOUSTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- TransCanada confirmed it started construction on the domestic leg of the Keystone XL pipeline despite opposition voices in Texas.

TransCanada in July received the last of three permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance its 485-mile Gulf Coast Project. The project represents the domestic leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

Shawn Howard, a spokesman for TransCanada, told the Los Angeles Times that construction was under way.

"Construction started on Aug. 9," he said. "So we've now started construction in Texas."

TransCanada had to reapply for a section of the planned Keystone XL pipeline from oil fields in Canada after lawmakers in Nebraska objected to original route plans.

The Gulf Coast Project will stretch from Cushing, Okla., to southern Texas. Another 47-mile project would transport oil to refineries in Houston.

Critics of the project expressed concern about the nature of the type of crude oil designated for the project. So-called tar sands oil is considered more of an environmental threat than conventional crude oil. A tar sands release in Michigan in 2010 was the costliest onshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Members of Tar Sands Blockade greeted pipeline construction in Texas with opposition.

"We just wanted to demonstrate that although they might be ready to begin, we would be ready to meet them," spokesman Ron Seifert told the Times.

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