By CHIP CUMMINS and CAROLYN KING
TORONTO -- TransCanada Corp. said Friday that it resubmitted
an application for a US permit for its controversial Keystone
XL oil pipeline expansion, rejected by the White
House earlier this year after it became a political flashpoint
ahead of this year's presidential election.
The Calgary-based pipeline company said it will supplement
its application, which was submitted to the US Department of
State, with a proposed, alternative route in Nebraska as soon
as that route is selected.
Nebraska became the focal point of some of the most vocal
opposition to the line.
TransCanada has long
maintained it planned to resubmit its application. US President
Barack Obama rejected the line after Republican lawmakers
imposed an early deadline on the decision, part of a broader
tax compromise with the president.
The reapplication doesn't likely change the timing of an
ultimate decision on the project.
The White House said it would welcome a resubmission, but
because of the time required to process and review a new
application, a decision isn't expected until after the November
In a statement Friday, the White House acknowledged receipt
of the application and said it was "committed to conducting a
rigorous, transparent and thorough review."
Canada's government and Canadian producers have pushed hard
for the expansion. Canadian oil production
has soared, but pipeline capacity out of oil-rich, but
landlocked, Alberta is limited.
The line has divided Washington. Many environmentalists and Democrats have
criticized it for furthering American dependence on fossil
fuels, especially since much of the fresh Canadian oil the line
would bring would come from Canada's oil-sands industry.
Oil sands, essentially bitumen mixed with quartz sand, takes
more energy and thus produces a higher carbon footprint, by many measures,
than conventional drilling.
Canadian officials and executives counter that the industry
is one of the most highly regulated in the world and has
comparable greenhouse-gas emissions to many other types of
crude around the world.
US Republicans have rallied around the line, saying it will
bolster energy security and create jobs. Republicans have
portrayed the White House rejection ahead of the US
presidential election in November as a missed opportunity to
aid the economy.
The White House has defended its decision, saying it didn't
have time to adequately review the line after Republicans
insisted on an accelerated review earlier this year. Obama
invited TransCanada to reapply.
TransCanada said its resubmitted application builds on three
years of environmental review.
"It was the most comprehensive process ever for a
cross-border pipeline and that work should allow our cross
border permit to be processed expeditiously," said Russ
Girling, TransCanada's chief executive, in a statement
TransCanada said the line was "in the national interest of
the United States." The company said shipping interest on the
proposed line was strong both from Canadian producers and those
in the US.
American production in the Midwest has also grown sharply
recently, and Keystone XL would transport US-produced oil to
the Gulf Coast, as well as Canadian crude.
TransCanada expects to begin construction of Keystone XL in the
first quarter of next year, with completion slated for as early
as late 2014, if approved.
TransCanada has said it will move ahead with a shorter
segment of the line - from Cushing, Okla., to the US Gulf Coast
- which doesn't need Washington approval. That segment should
start pumping by late next year, the company said.
Dow Jones Newswires