TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) confirmed that the regulatory process for the Keystone XL pipeline has now entered the final stages of review by the U.S. Department of State.
"Keystone XL has been under review since 2008 and we are confident we have addressed the major questions raised by regulators and government agencies," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "We expect a final regulatory decision for this project by late 2011 and we are pleased the Department of State has committed it will conclude its review of Keystone XL by the end of the year. The Keystone expansion is expected to be operational in 2013."
Since 2008, TransCanada has held over 90 open houses and public meetings along the pipeline route; given hundreds of hours of testimony to local, state and federal officials and submitted thousands of pages of information to government agencies in response to questions. The Department of State concluded in the spring of 2010 that Keystone XL would have limited impact on the environment during construction and operation.
"A growing number of opinion leaders, elected officials, labor unions, associations and members of the public are showing their support for Keystone XL," added Girling. "Instability and unrest in Libya and other parts of the Middle East demonstrate the need for the U.S. to receive a safe, secure, stable supply of oil - Keystone XL will provide that. The project will help put America back to work, creating 20,000 jobs and injecting billions into the U.S. economy."
The U.S. Department of Energy stated in a recent study that 'Increased Canadian oil imports will help reduce U.S. imports of foreign oil from sources outside of North America'. This supports TransCanada's point that we can reduce America's dependence on oil from Venezuela and the Middle East by up to 40 percent with the Keystone XL pipeline. As the American GI Forum of Texas recently pointed out, the oil that the Keystone system will deliver is 'conflict free.'
The study also confirmed that the construction of Keystone XL would not change global refinery carbon dioxide or total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier analysis by The Perryman Group out of Texas regarding the economic benefits of the project concluded that more than $585 million in new taxes will go to the states and communities along the pipeline route; an additional $5.2 billion in property taxes will be paid over the operating life of the pipeline; more than $6.5 billion in personal income will go to Americans; and U.S.-based producers will have new options to move crude oil to American refineries.
"Keystone XL is a shovel-ready project that is funded completely by private sector investment at no cost to American taxpayers," concluded Girling. "It will be a safe, modern and leading-edge pipeline and we have provided the Department of State and other agencies with the facts regarding Keystone XL's design, safety, operating procedures and limited environmental impact."