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NEWS: Keystone XL approval delayed, concerns about impact on aquifer raised

CBC reports that, “Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. said Tuesday that approval of its controversial Keystone XL crude pipeline expansion will take longer than expected. …It said it now expects U.S. authorities to approve the project in the last six months of 2011. Its previous estimate was for early in the year. …The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the Canada-U.S. border. Canadian approvals are already in place. …If Keystone XL wins regulatory approval, TransCanada expects the massive Alberta-to-Texas line to start up some time in 2013.”

“The Keystone XL expansion would expand capacity by 500,000 barrels a day and extend the line to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, a very lucrative market. The expansion would run directly from Alberta, connect with existing pipelines in Kansas and Oklahoma and extend to (Texas and) the Gulf (of Mexico).”

“Opposition to the massive project has been fierce, with environmentalists worried a spill could damage key drinking-water sources and increase U.S. reliance on ‘dirty’ crude from the oilsands.” While the Council of Canadians has not been actively campaigning on this issue, we have been highlighting its impact on the Ogallala aquifer. One of the world’s largest aquifers, it covers an area in portions of the eight states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. The aquifer provides drinking water to 82 percent of the people who live within the aquifer’s boundary. More on the pipeline’s likely impact on that aquifer at

The Globe and Mail adds today that, “(The pipeline project) has gotten bogged down in environmental debates in Washington over concerns about expanding oil sands production and potential threats to groundwater sources along the route. …In a conference call on Tuesday, TransCanada executives said approval for Keystone XL could be further delayed if the State Department requests a new environmental impact statement, as critics are demanding.”