Despite two big setbacks last week, TransCanada officials say they are continuing with plans to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. President Obama vetoed legislation that would have approved construction of the project. Also, a Nebraska district court granted an injunction ending TransCanada’s use of eminent domain to acquire easements for the pipeline.
TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper says they’re not giving up as the project has, in his words, “tremendous support.”
“It’s a project that really embodies the relationship between Canada and the U.S., that trading partnership,” Cooper says. “It’s going to be built by American and Canadian workers for the benefit of the United States and for energy security.”
The company is “fully committed” to the project he says, adding, “eventually, it will get built.” Cooper says that his company has already obtained most of the easements needed for the pipeline, so they’re not concerned with the recent injunctions putting a temporary hold on eminent domain.
“Ninety percent of the easements in Nebraska have been signed,” Cooper says. “That goes along with 100% of easements in South Dakota and Montana. For a project of this size, that is well above industry average.”
Despite the veto of the Congressional bill, Cooper says he’s confident President Obama will eventually give the go-ahead to Keystone XL.
“We take the president firmly at face value that he’ll consider this project,” Cooper says. “Looking at it and the abundance of evidence that is there, this is a project that is environmentally sound, it makes good geopolitical sense in that it will reduce reliance on overseas imports of oil.”
Cooper says the economic benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline include 9,000 construction jobs and more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton