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Oil Flowing Through the Keystone Pipeline
“TransCanada will start shipping crude oil through the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline Wednesday,” reports Steven Mufson. The newly operational portion of the pipeline, known as the Gulf Coast Pipeline, connects Cushing, Oklahoma, with oil refineries in Texas. The southern portion is operational because it didn't require the same level of approvals as the northern portion of the line, requiring approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, but not the State Department.
Mufson also reports that the complete Keystone Pipeline is far from a sure thing. “[TransCanada] is still waiting for the State Department to decide whether to issue a permit for the 1,179-mile northern leg that would carry predominantly heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands, cross the border in Montana and run to the small town of Steele City, Neb.” Moreover, “Foes of the $5.3 billion project are still fighting TransCanada. They have filed a lawsuit in Nebraska and one in Texas, where they have appealed to the state Supreme Court.”
Further complicating the political realities of the pipeline are the recent explosions that have occurred via the alternative transportation method of rail.