HOUSTON - TransCanada is now in a position to start construction on the Gulf Coast leg of their oil pipeline, after receiving approval of the third and final permit needed from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Associated Press reports.
The final permit came from the Fort Worth Army Corps district, which adds to the previously received permits from the Galveston and the Tulsa, Oklahoma districts.
The 485-mile section beginning in Cushing, Oklahoma would run through several local counties including Lamar, Delta and Hopkins, proceeding south toward refineries on the coast.
The larger portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil sands from Alberta, remains the center of a political battle as the Obama administration reviews a cross-border permit. Presidential approval is required because the pipeline crosses an international border.
Supporters of the project say construction of the pipeline will bring approximately 4,000 jobs and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
On the company's website July 27, Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer, said:
"TransCanada has an industry-leading safety record and that is something we take great pride in. People expect their energy to be delivered safely and reliably - on this point there can be no compromise. As an industry, we need to have the best and most modern policies, procedures and equipment in place to prevent and respond to incidents."
Critics claim tar sands is dirtier than most other heavy crudes refined in the U.S. and fear it'll bring more harm to air quality and increase risks for accidents and spills.
The AP obtained this statement from Chris Wilson, an organizer with Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines:
"It appears that President Obama is only too happy to turn up the flow of toxic tar sands through our states, but we're here to say, 'Don't mess with Texas or Oklahoma,'" Wilson said in a statement. "TransCanada executives may be smirking today, but they've got another thing coming if they expect landowners and tribes to simply roll over for their dangerous pipeline."
Last week, Texas landowners appeared before The House Committee for Land and Resource Management, expressing concern over a company's ability to use eminent domain to install pipelines on private property.