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Trump’s Election Could Revive Keystone XL

Friday, November 11, 2016

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The Keystone XL Pipeline, effectively quashed by President Barack Obama last year, could be back in play under the incoming administration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

According to reports, TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone Pipeline and the proposed XL extension, said Wednesday (Nov. 9) that it is “evaluating ways to convince the new administration on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table.” A spokesperson told media outlets the company is “fully committed to building Keystone XL.”

Pipe for Keystone pipeline
By shannonpatrick17, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A TransCanada spokesperson told media outlets Wednesday (Nov. 9) the company is “fully committed to building Keystone XL.”

Keystone XL, known as Phase 4 of the Keystone Pipeline, was first proposed by TransCanada in 2008. The 1,179-mile oil pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta, in Canada, to Steele City, NE. In Steele City, it would meet other portions of the Keystone Pipeline.

Lengthy Review, Rejection

The proposed pipeline was subject to more than six years of scrutiny by the federal government, which ultimately rejected the proposal, stating that the pipeline did “not serve the national interests of the United States.”

During the review, the pipeline plan had served as a political lightning rod, with environmentalists opposing its construction citing concerns about spills, especially where it would be routed through the Sandhills region of Nebraska, a national natural landmark.

Keystone XL protest
By Josh Lopez, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The pipeline plan had served as a political lightning rod, with environmentalists opposing its construction citing concerns about spills.

Some also expressed doubts about expanding production in the tar sands of Alberta, where oil recovery and processing reportedly creates more greenhouse gases than are produced in other regions.

Proponents of the pipeline said there was no evidence that tar sands production would actually increase with the pipeline, which TransCanada says would lower oil prices. Environmental concerns, the company said, are overblown, as the company is committed to safety and mitigating any environmental impacts.

In June, TransCanada filed suit against the U.S. government, seeking to recover billions in damages the company says were sustained as a result of the lengthy approval process and the ultimate rejection of the pipeline, which it said violated principles of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump on Keystone XL

As a candidate, Trump said he favored approving Keystone XL, but with a caveat: “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” he said in a speech in May. “That how we’re going to make our country rich again.”

That idea presents risks in dealing with both TransCanada and the Canadian government, and is of dubious legality under World Trade Organization rules, some say. But according to Politico, others say Trump could negotiate other aspects of the pipeline to benefit the U.S., such as getting more dedicated pipeline space for U.S. oil.

Keystone Segments

Phase 1, the Keystone Pipeline, runs 2,147 miles from Hardity, Alberta, to Patoka, IL, via Steele City, NE. Phase 2, known as the Keystone-Cushing Project, runs from Steele City to Cushing, OK, site of the country’s largest crude oil storage farm. Those two pipelines were completed in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Keystone pipeline map
TransCanada

Keystone XL is the proposed fourth phase of the Keystone pipeline system, reaching from Alberta, Canada, to southern Texas.

Phase 3 is split into two parts: The Cushing Marketlink Project, which went on line in 2014 and runs from Cushing to Nederland, TX, and the Houston Lateral Project, currently under construction, which will diverge from the Cushing Marketlink line in Liberty County, TX and run to Houston.

Trump and Dakota Access

The coming Trump administration could also be good news for proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is nearing completion but is stalled in North Dakota as representatives of the Sioux tribe and environmentalists protest its routing under a lake near Standing Rock Reservation.

President Obama recently said he would consider working to try to have the pipeline rerouted, but U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, an advisor to Trump, said Wednesday (Nov. 10) that a Trump administration will likely help move the project forward if a resolution is not already found before January.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmental Protection; Government; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; Program/Project Management

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