TransCanada says oil pipeline route unlikely to change

OMAHA, Neb Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:33pm EDT

OMAHA, Neb (Reuters) - The controversial proposed path of the TransCanada Keystone XL oil pipeline across Nebraska is unlikely to change, company officials said Tuesday.

Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president of energy and oil pipelines, and Robert Jones, a TransCanada vice president who would be in charge of constructing the pipeline, met in Norfolk, Nebraska with four Nebraska state senators.

"We understand that the best solution from your perspective is to move the route. We don't believe that is an option for us," Pourbaix said.

"But there are things we can do together to improve the situation and add to your comfort level."

The project would cut across a corner of Nebraska's environmentally-fragile Sandhills and the water-rich Ogallala Aquifer. Opposition to the route has swelled in recent months. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman asked the U.S. State Department last week whether the state can pass and enforce its own pipeline siting law.

State lawmakers are considering calling a special session of the Legislature to consider a siting law. The special session issue was not discussed at the Norfolk meeting.

"Clearly, the contamination of groundwater is the top concern," said State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, who organized the meeting.

Pourbaix said he understood the concern. "The Sandhills are a challenge, but pipelines are built where there is surface water all the time," he said.

The TransCanada officials said that if Nebraska had passed pipeline siting legislation two or three years ago, the route might have been changed.

"To do it now seriously jeopardizes the project," Pourbaix said.

He said a different route would almost certainly delay the project for several years because new, time-consuming environmental studies would render it impractical.

The company officials said they would study several requests from the legislators, including determining how much of the pipeline would be encapsulated in concrete to provide additional protection. They also reminded the lawmakers that a federal study found that the current proposed route would have the least environmental impact of any of the routes studied.

The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry tar-sand oil from western Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Pourbaix said TransCanada did not realize that the project would become such a heated political and environmental issue in Nebraska.

"If the company had had any clue, we would have undertaken more efforts to communicate with the public," he said. "I hope it's not too late for that because what has been lost in all of this is the science and the facts."

(Editing by Greg McCune)

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Comments (1)
PatsyC wrote:
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It’s not up to TransCanada to decide to change the route.

It’s up to the one person in this whole, wide world who will sign the PRESIDENTIAL Permit — Barack Hussein Obama — and there’s no way he will accept any further delay in getting this pipeline completed.

“Changing the route” — by way of City Council, Legislative or Court Decree — is a commonly-used trick that radical Environmentalists use to delay a project so investors pull out, and then the project is cancelled or re-negotiated to cut themselves a better deal.

In fact, Obama probably used the tactic himself back in Chicago with subway and bus routes through poor southside minority neighborhoods, to negotiate himself a payola to later “play along,” and quiet the stirred-up crowd when he was a lowly and unelected Community Organizer.

Because Obama and his advisers are aware of this Environmentalist tactic, he cannot and WILL NOT allow the route to be changed, because he has the Unions breathing down his neck for the Jobs.

The political reality is that Obama would risk losing the votes and campaign donations of ALL 1.8 million Nebraskans, but he cannot afford to lose the support of ANY Union that wants the pipeline built at any and all costs.

If there’s even a hint or appearance of further delay in the completion of this pipeline, the Unions have already vowed to immediately cease all campaign donations, as well as the support of millions of Union Obama foot-soldiers at the grassroots level.

Even if he needs to send Michelle, Sasha and Malia to Nebraska with shovels to dig the ditch themselves, Barack Obama will ensure that pipeline is built. He knows his political life depends upon it!

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Oct 11, 2011 12:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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