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Texas Railroad Commission chairman speaks at TransCanada ceremony in Beaumont

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BEAUMONT -

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman spoke in Beaumont Wednesday during ceremonies held at Ford Park to mark the start of operation of TransCanada's Gulf Coast Pipeline Project, which will deliver economic benefits, strengthen energy security and protect natural resources.

"Texans understand the importance of pipelines to our state and nation, and we recognize the crucial role the Gulf Coast Pipeline will have beyond the borders of our state," said Chairman Smitherman.

"The Gulf Coast Pipeline will create thousands of jobs, will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for years to come, is the safest way to deliver oil to markets that demand it, and will help fuel our state and national economies for decades to come," he said.

"On behalf of the Texas Railroad Commission and the people of Texas, I welcome the Gulf Coast Pipeline project and look forward to hearing that the Keystone XL Pipeline, its northern leg, is approved as soon as possible in Washington, D.C."

Smitherman said the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project will transport growing supplies of U.S. and Canadian oil that will replace oil from unreliable sources in the Middle East and Venezuela.

Smitherman said the same positive impact the Gulf Coast Pipeline brought to Texas and Oklahoma during construction will continue during its operation. This same result can be reproduced in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska with approval of the Presidential Permit needed to build Keystone XL.

"It's clear to me and it's clear to the vast majority of Americans that the President should approve Keystone XL without further delay," said Smitherman. "In Texas, we find it hard to understand how, after five exhaustive reviews, over five years, which no other pipeline in the United States has had to endure, Keystone XL still isn't approved," he said.

Chairman Smitherman said the Department of State's most recent environmental impact statement, released on January 31, shows that Keystone XL would have minimal impact on the environment.

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