A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by an environmental group that claimed a permit that allows the construction of an oil pipeline between the United States and Canada violated federal law.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled Sept. 29 that the Natural Resources Defense Council did not have the authority to challenge the permit issued for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline by the U.S. State Department.
The council claimed the State Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act because it issued the presidential permit based on a deficient environmental impact statement. NRDC sought a court order requiring the permit to be revoked.
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. is building the pipeline that will run 2,148 miles from Alberta through North Dakota to Illinois.
Expansion could bring price to $12B
The company wants to expand the pipeline to Cushing, Okla., and then to the U.S. Gulf Coast by 2012. The total investment could be up to $12 billion.
The pipeline will be able to deliver 1.1 million barrels of oil a day and could be expanded to 1.5 million barrels a day, TransCanada has said.
Base line almost completeAccording to an Oct. 1 article in Nebraska’s Lincoln Journal Star, work on the Keystone base line in Nebraska is close to completion.
Two crews, including one of about 500 construction workers based in Lincoln, have buried “virtually all of the … pipe from Cedar County along the South Dakota border to Jefferson County along the Kansas border,” the newspaper reported.
“The work has gone very well,” Keystone spokesman Jeff Rauh said Oct. 1. “We’re progressing, and weather permitting, we will continue to make good progress. And we’re certainly comfortable with scheduled completion by a Thanksgiving time frame,” which is the target date for 380,000 barrels of crude to start flowing southward from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in Illinois.
Economic shot-in-the-armThe $5.2 billion base line Keystone line “has been a shot in the arm to motels, restaurants and other fixtures of the Nebraska economy at a time when many of the state’s other construction-related projects have been lagging,” the Lincoln Star reported.
“It’s been an engineering feat that required the pipe to be threaded under the Missouri River near Yankton, S.D., last fall and then under a 4,700-foot expanse of the Platte River between Columbus and Schuyler this summer.
“And it’s been a source of easement income and sometimes a disruption to hundreds of farmers and other property owners along a route that runs 110 feet wide and more than 1,000 miles long through six states,” the newspaper reported.
Draft EIS likely in NovemberRauh told the Lincoln Star that “the pipe system’s integrity will be subjected to a final test before the oil valve is turned in Canada: Water will be pumped through it at 125 percent of its normal operating pressure.”
The next step in the TransCanada project that will connect the 36-inch line to Cushing, Okla., and then to the Texas Gulf Coast, is moving forward, the newspaper reported.
“The federal regulatory review is proceeding,” Rauh said of Keystone XL. “We anticipate that a draft environmental impact statement is likely in November. That’s a significant milestone in the regulatory review process.”