Texas judge temporarily blocks Keystone XL

Dec. 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Texas judge has issued a temporary order to halt work on the Keystone XL pipeline in Nacogdoches County, court documents say.

But attorneys for TransCanada, which is building the pipeline, said they planned to fight the order in a hearing Thursday and do not expect it will stop Keystone XL construction, the Houston Chronicle reported.

TransCanada spokesman David Dodson told the newspaper the company has not halted any construction because of the order.

The judge's temporary restraining order came in response to a lawsuit filed by county resident Michael Bishop. Bishop contended pipeline owner TransCanada had misrepresented the purpose of Keystone XL when the company negotiated an agreement with him to build it through his land, court documents said.

The company said the pipeline would transport crude oil, but Bishop argued the oil that would eventually flow through Keystone XL from Canada is different because it is produced from oil sands.

Oil sands crude is produced by heating and diluting solid, hydrocarbon-bearing bitumen so that it can flow through a pipeline.

Bishop had previously signed an agreement with the company to allow it to transport "oil and crude petroleum products" through the pipeline, TransCanada attorney James Freeman said.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed addition to the pipeline that would carry bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. State Department is expected to make a decision early next year on whether to allow the completion of the pipeline through a sensitive Nebraska aquifer.

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