The Keystone XL Pipeline: Fueling the debate over presidential permit authority

Trends - ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, Vol. 46 Issue 4

March 2015

By Robin Rotman and Frances Bishop

TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline has cast a spotlight on the presidential permit process for cross-border oil pipelines, which has otherwise gone largely unnoticed since its inception. The Keystone XL Pipeline would originate in Alberta, Canada, and transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude and Bakken shale oil to a hub in Steele City, Nebraska. From there, the Keystone Cushing Extension Pipeline (already in service) transports oil to Cushing, Oklahoma; the Gulf Coast Project Pipeline (already in service) delivers the oil from Cushing to Gulf Coast refineries. This article provides a brief overview of the presidential permit authority for cross-border oil pipelines, summarizes the ongoing presidential permit proceeding for the Keystone XL Pipeline, and looks ahead to possible congressional action...

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