The 485-mile Oklahoma-to-Texas leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is about half done, a TransCanada official told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday.
Nearly all the land along the route has been cleared, and the pipeline should be in service at the end of this year or in early 2014, according to Corey Goulet, vice president of Keystone Pipeline projects for TransCanada, the Canadian company building the pipeline. The $2.3 billion pipeline will bring crude oil from a major storage depot in Cushing, Okla., to refineries in the Nederland area of Southeast Texas. (A spur will take oil on from Nederland to Houston.)
Despite these advances, TransCanada is still waiting on federal approval before building a segment of the pipeline farther north. TransCanada hopes to eventually pipe oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to Texas. But because that pipeline would cross a border, it requires presidential approval. President Obama rejected the company's bid for a permit in early 2012, but TransCanada has reapplied.
The Alberta oil would come from formations called tar sands, and extracting it releases more greenhouse gases than does the process for regular oil. Environmentalists concerned about climate change have made stopping the pipeline a high-profile goal.
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