Pumping tar sand oil across the Canadian border is still an open issue.
On Feb 27 the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, TransCanada, announced that they intend to construct the southern half of the pipeline from Cushing OK to Port Arthur TX. TransCanada said that they have all the state and Federal permits required, except for final approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers, but landowners along the way are not happy. This new decision sets aside for the moment the increased import of tar sand oils from Canada and the construction of the pipeline across sensitive areas in Nebraska. It also takes some of the steam out of the move in the Senate to speed up approval of the northern half of the pipeline. Meanwhile TransCanada plans to re-submit their application for the northern half to the State Department.
President Obama welcomed this news, stating “the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.” But Republican Presidential candidates continue to pursue questionable arguments in favor of the pipeline.
For more background on the Keystone XL Pipeline, hear Part I and Part II of an NPR audio report. What is not being covered very well in the US media are the concerns of Canadians about the environmental harm of the Alberta oil tar sands mining and doubts about the economic benefits.