TransCanada: Row over Keystone XL off base

June 13, 2013 at 6:55 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, June 13 (UPI) -- Any suggestion the draft assessment by the U.S. State Department of the Keystone XL pipeline was marred is "ridiculous," a spokesman for TransCanada said.

The Sierra Club this week filed a lawsuit against the State Department alleging the draft environmental assessment of the planned Keystone XL pipeline was influenced by the oil industry.

TransCanada wants to build the cross-border pipeline to facilitate the delivery of Canadian oil sands to refineries along the southern U.S. coast. TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard told UPI in response to email questions the company wasn't party to the lawsuit, but stressed nonetheless it wasn't guiding the work of the State Department.

"The inference that the Keystone XL review has been anything but thorough and intense is ridiculous," he said.

TransCanada said Wednesday it started the process of de-registering easements that it acquired for the original pipeline route through Nebraska. TransCanada was pressured to redraft the route to avoid a vital groundwater aquifer. With a new route approved, the company said earlier easement agreements were no longer required.

Supporters of Keystone XL say it will ensure regional energy security and provide a source of economic stimulus. Opponents say pipelines carrying oil sands are more prone to spills than those carrying conventional crude oil.

"This project has been on the public agenda for more than 1,700 days, has been reviewed by two dozen local, state and federal agencies and has resulted in 12,000 pages of detailed analysis that continue to demonstrate that the project will have a limited environmental impact," Howard said.

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