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TransCanada To Begin Work On One Portion Of Keystone Pipeline

After a proposal to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas was denied by the Obama administration, TransCanada says it will start building the Oklahoma-to-Texas portion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

If you remember back in January, the administration told TransCanada to reapply for a permit on the 1,700 mile pipeline when it had plans to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills of Nebraska.

TransCanada said today that it had notified the State Department that it planned to reapply with an alternative route "in the near future."

Meanwhile, however, TransCanada said it would move forward with the part of pipeline that doesn't need presidential approval. The northern-most portion needs approval, because it crosses the international border.

TransCanada says the portion of pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to refineries on the Gulf Coast will cost an estimated $2.3 billion and will be complete in mid to late 2013.

The White House very quickly issued a statement praising the plan. President Obama has been criticized by the Republican presidential candidates over his decision to deny the Keystone XL permit. Republicans said the move would deny new American jobs and deny a key source of new oil.

"As the President made clear in January, we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high," Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

The Washington Post reportsthat Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar "issued a statement blaming Obama for the firm's change in plans."

"Americans are screaming for more affordable oil supplies," Lugar said. "The irony is that Democratic Senate leadership is calling for more oil from Saudi Arabia even as they continue to oppose oil from Canada. President Obama has turned his back on secure, affordable oil supplies of domestic oil from North Dakota and Montana, and from our vital ally Canada."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.