Commercial deliveries of crude oil to the U.S. Midwest from the Keystone pipeline from Canada started during the last week of June.
TransCanada, the operator of the pipeline, said the U.S. leg of the pipeline includes more than 1,000 miles of new pipe to northern and Midwest states.
A second phase of the pipeline would extend nearly 300 miles from Nebraska to Oklahoma by 2011. The extension would increase the capacity of the pipeline from 430,000 barrels of oil per day to 591,000 bpd.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that while tar sand pipelines could increase oil deliveries to U.S. markets substantially, the risk was too great.
Waxman complains that extraction methods from tar sands requires more energy and releases more harmful emissions than conventional deposits.
"I am also concerned that the State Department has failed Io analyze the most significant environmental impacts of this decision, as required by law, and is conducting the permitting process in a manner that lacks transparency and limits the ability of other relevant agencies to participate," he writes.
Keystone already has 83 percent of the commitments for the initial 1.1 million bpd pipeline capacity for the next 18 years.