UPDATE 1-TransCanada receives final permit for Gulf Coast project

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:25am EDT

July 27 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp, the company seeking to build the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline, has received the final permit needed for the project's southern part, clearing the way for construction to begin on the section in the coming weeks.

The Army Corps of Engineers said Friday its Forth Worth, Texas, office had given the third and final permit for the southern section, which does not need approval by the State Department because it does not cross the national border.

"The Corps has done its part, and now TransCanada can proceed as they see it," on the portion of the pipeline the company rebranded the Gulf Coast project, an Army Corps spokeswoman said.

President Barack Obama rejected late last year the overall project on environmental and water supply concerns about its route through Nebraska. Environmentalists, an important part of his base, also opposed the pipeline because energy-intensive Canadian oil sands emit more greenhouse gases than average crudes refined in the United States.

In March, Obama threw his support behind the southern half of the line, which would drain a glut of oil in the U.S. midsection fed mostly by the oil boom in North Dakota.

The company said in June it expected to start construction on the 700,000 barrels per day section later this summer.

"TransCanada is now poised to put approximately 4,000 Americans to work constructing the US $2.3 billion pipeline that will be built in three distinct spreads or sections," said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling.

Opponents of the project say fewer jobs would be created.

TransCanada re-applied in May to the U.S. State Department for approval of its full $7.6 billion Keystone XL pipeline betting a new route through Nebraska and a post-election time frame for the decision will push the project ahead. . The deadline for public comments on the application is Monday.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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