Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Keystone’s tar sands pipeline concerns environmentalists

Keystone’s tar sands pipeline concerns environmentalists
2011-03-02 /
The Cherokeean Herald

TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline System is being heralded as one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the United States and Canada – four times the length of the Alaska pipeline.

The 2,151-mile pipeline already connects Hardisty, Can. with Cushing, Ok. Lying in the path of the Keystone Gulf Coast Extension (Keystone XL) from Cushing, Ok. to Port Arthur is Cherokee County.

The northeast corner of the county will be traversed as the pipeline crosses into Rusk and Nacogdoches counties before veering back into the county at the southeast corner between Alto and Wells with a nearby pumping station.

The 36-inch pipeline won’t carry traditional crude oil like other pipelines crisscrossing the United States. It will transport bitumen, a surface oil that is being strip-mined in Canada. The thick and heavy bitumen, sometimes called tar or tar sands, is too viscous for traditional pipeline transportation. It must be heated up to 165 degrees and injected with liquid gas.

The pipeline is pressurized to 1,600 psi, enabling a speed of approximately 5 mph.

While bitumen pipeline projects cross other states, the Keystone XL extension will be the first of its kind in Texas – and will span 370,540 miles from the Red River to the Texas Coast.

The pipeline will be capable of transporting 1.1 million barrels of oil daily.

The TransCanada website states that the pipeline could replace 20 percent of what the U.S. imports from Venezuela and the Middle East.

Noted Waco economist Dr. M. Ray Perryman wrote in an economic impact report in June 2010, that the Keystone XL project offers a marginal increase in supply and a modest price effect on the U.S. economy.

“These benefits, of course are over and above the sizable gains from the construction stimulus, particularly in the areas directly affected,” he said.


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