Keystone pipeline making progress in SETX

Transcanada says work on the 112-miles stretch of the overall Gulf Coast Project that encompasses the Beaumont area is approaching the halfway mark.

According to Transcanada, more than 90 percent of the right-of-way has been cleared and made ready for construction. Just over 40 percent of the pipeline has been welded, laid into the ground and covered.

Several miles of pipe has been readied for construction by being taken to the appropriate site, laid end to end, and bent to conform to the contours of the right of way.

This process is currently taking place off of Fannett Road in Jefferson County. The Gulf Coast Project will move crude oil from Cushing to Nederland, Texas. Tuesday, crews were bringing in pipes.

That pipe will be welded, the welds will be inspected and tested, and then completed sections of the pipeline will be lowered into the ground and buried.

Finally, the entire pipeline will be pressure-tested to ensure integrity of the pipe and the welds.

Justin Morgan narrowly escaped giving up his 3-acres of land to Transcanada. His property sits just yards away from the project.

"I always wondered what my family would have done with this place," Morgan tells 12News.

Right next to his home, where he was raised and where he raises cattle, there's a construction zone.

Morgan works outside daily and says he isn't bothered by crews bringing in heavy equipment.

"I'm outside quite a bit and in the barn messing around. I don't ever hear them," says Morgan.

Transcanada says while the southern leg of the project is half-way complete, the bigger project has not yet been given the "green light" from President Barack Obama.

Tuesday, House Republicans urged President Obama to approve the controversial pipeline from western Canada to Southeast Texas.

"There's no reason for the Keystone Pipeline to be blocked for another day. The President and the President alone stands between these tens of thousands of American jobs and more North American oil for our refineries and it's time for him to say yes," says Republican House Speak, Rep. John Boehner.

Opponents warn it could lead to a spike in greenhouse gas emissions as it carries oil to Southeast Texas. But, a recent report said the pipeline would have little environmental impact.

With an economy struggling to stay afloat, Morgan vows for more jobs.

"The way I look at it is we have pipelines all over. This is Southeast Texas. One more will bring jobs. It will be good for the economy," says Morgan.

In a statement to 12News, Transcanada says "The Gulf Coast Project is a standalone pipeline being built by TransCanada. TransCanada is also developer of the Keystone XL Pipeline that will extend from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska. A pipeline connection between Steele City and Cushing, Oklahoma, is already complete. Gulf Coast Project will move crude oil from Cushing to Nederland, Texas.

Overall, the Gulf Coast Project is a 485-mile, 36-inch-diameter pipeline anticipated to be completed and in operation by late 2013 or early 2014. It will be capable of delivering up to 700,000 barrels a day of crude oil to refineries in the Port Arthur area. In the early years, that crude oil will be domestic petroleum from Texas and Oklahoma. Upon completion of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the Gulf Coast Project can be expanded to deliver up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil, including oil from Canada.

On March 1, the U.S. Department of State issued a Draft Environmental Impact Study on Keystone XL. The DEIS concluded that Keystone XL poses no significant environmental threat and that will not have an appreciable impact on climate change. The State Department found that the existence of Keystone XL won't substantially impact the development of tar sands oil or the amount of oil refined in the Gulf Coast region.

A final decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline rests with President Obama."



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