Posted Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, at 10:35 AM
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline project is really two projects in one. One half of it is a pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma down to Port Arthur, Texas designed to help fossil fuels move from production facilities in North Dakota and elsewhere down to the ocean where they can be exported around the world. The other is a pipeline from Alberta down to Steele City, Nebraska which will then carry fossil fuel from the Canadian tar sands into Cushing. It's this latter part which triggered the federal issue over cross-border pipeline-building, the clash between Obama and the Congressional GOP, and ultimately the stalling of the project. This is also the portion of the pipeline where environmentalists concerned about the carbon emissions implications of the project were able to form an alliance with conservative property rights advocates and others with local Nebraska-centric concerns to build a grassroots coalition. But the Cushing-to-the-sea portion of the pipeline can apparently go ahead notwithstanding the regulatory stall over the Alberta-to-Nebraska portion and TransCanada is pledging to forge ahead with it.