Environment
12:50 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

New Focus In Battle Against Pipeline

Environmental groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline are shifting focus to the Corps of Engineers. 

TransCanada Corporation has applied for permits from the Corps to build the southern segment of the pipeline that would carry tar sands oil. 

It would run between Cushing, Oklahoma and Nederland, on the Texas coast. Eventually the pipeline would run from Canada to the Gulf.

The southern part of the pipeline would split David Daniel’s property near Winnsboro, north of Tyler. At a Friends of the Earth teleconference, Daniel said he and others who are worried about environmental and health dangers are being shut out of the process.

“We’re fed up with the tactics. We demand transparency. We demand EPA involvement.  And we demand that our concerns be openly and publically addressed.”

Daniel says the Corps permit process does not allow for public comment. The EPA says it has no jurisdiction over pipelines.

The Corps focuses on the pipeline’s impact on waterways – rivers, wetlands and harbors. Clay Church, with the Fort Worth District, says the Corps is very thorough in its review of permits, and does address environmental concerns under the Clean Water Act. 

Decisions on the pipeline permits are expected in the next couple of months from officials at the Corps in Fort Worth, Tulsa and Galveston.  TransCanada wants to start the construction in August.  The presidential permit from the state department required to build the pipeline from Nebraska to Alberta is expected to require more rigorous review.