TransCanada’s Keystone XL is a pipeline project that will transport crude from oil sands in Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
The pipeline project became political in January 2011, when President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s permit, which required presidential approval because it crosses an international boundary.
Keystone XL’s original route would have traversed the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which prompted protests from environmentalists.
TransCanada has re-applied for a presidential permit, and has reached agreement with officials in Nebraska on an environmental impact study.
After the permit reject, TransCanada announced plans to start the pipeline’s southern portion — the 485-mile Keystone Gulf extension —which links Oklahoma’s pipeline hub in Cushing with refineries in Texas.
Many people question Keystone XL’s impact on the economy and the environment, and landowners in Oklahoma and Texas have fought against the pipeline, which TransCanada has tried to install by force through eminent domain.
TransCanada claims the Keystone XL project would create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and more than 100,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.
But a study from Cornell University found that the pipeline project would create only 20 full-time jobs. Up to 90 percent of those hired for temporary work would be non-local and hired from out-of-state, according to the study.
Oklahoma would see between 600 and 800 construction-related jobs while the pipeline was being built, company officials said.
Critics say the type of Canadian crude Keystone XL will move is especially risky because it’s thicker, more acidic and carries abrasive particles that are more corrosive to pipelines.
The company disputes this and argues that dilbit crude has been flowing into the United States for years.
TransCanada reworked the southern route of Keystone XL to avoid sensitive wetlands in Texas