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Pipeline pumps money into local economy - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Pipeline pumps money into local economy

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BEAUMONT -

Four thousand workers are on the ground between Cushing, Oklahoma and Southeast Texas. They are piecing together the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline project.

A Transcanada representative spoke to more than one hundred Rotary Club members Wednesday about the project and how it's benefiting our economy.

Project representative, Jim Prescott, says the Gulf Coast Project is on schedule to be completed by mid-summer and up and running by the end of the year.

He says we're already seeing an economic boost as Transcanada buys supplies from local businesses.

"From lumber to sand, from gravel to fuel," says Prescott.

Those are products needed for the project that are being purchased locally.

Also spending local dollars are the workers.

"Four thousand workers are on the ground. They all spend money out of their own pocket; rent, clothes, groceries; things we use everyday," he says.

Prescott spoke to Rotary on this impact. Business leaders say they are counting on the benefits they will see by the end of the year completion.

"The folks working on that are eating at our restaurants and sleeping in our hotels. It's a huge impact," says Entergy Texas worker Vernon Pierce.

Pierce says Entergy Texas will also benefit.

He says "There's pumping stations in the area and if we service that territory, we will serve it. It will affect Entergy."

More proof that it could boost our economy.

"There's as much as $5 million coming to our local economy just from construction on this project," says Prescott.

Prescott says in an oil-based economy, Southeast Texas is already bringing in the bucks and that there's more to come.

Those who support the southern project are now waiting on presidential approval for the northern portion, which Transcanada says will add 9,000 jobs.

"A lot of folks in the industry, they're watching this pipeline and hopefully it will get a presidential permit into Canada very soon," says Pierce.

"We're very optimistic that it will ultimately get approved sometime later this year," says Prescott.

The Gulf Coast Project will pump 700,000 barrels of crude oil to our local refineries daily.

If President Obama approves the northern portion, over 800,000 barrels will be transferred daily.

Transcanada is in a 45-day public comment period concerning the northern portion of the pipeline. That period ends on April 22.

After that, there will be several hearings before the Obama Administration decides whether to give it the green light.

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