East Texans react to Keystone XL "Hail Mary"

WOOD COUNTY (KYTX) -- A new smaller version of TransCanada's Keystone XL will run between Cushing, OK and the Texas Gulf Coast. The company is downsizing its original plans in an attempt to cut through red tape that's been holding the project back for months.

By building a pipeline that doesn't cross the U.S./Canada border, TransCanada avoids having to apply for a presidential permit. It may be a different project on paper, but the reality is what's about to happen between Cushing and the Gulf Coast will be identical to the plan people like Wood County land owner and "STOP Tar Sands" founder David Daniel have been fighting for years.

"The Obama Administration sold us out," he said.

He said he expected it and figures the rest will be approved after President Obama's potential re-election.

"It's a political football game that's been going on at our expense," he said.

TransCanada said even without extra feed from a line that would have run from Alberta, Canada to Cushing, the new route to the gulf coast will be busy.

"There's a glut of oil right now in Cushing Oklahoma because it's essentially land-locked," TransCanada spokesperson Shawn Howard said. "There's very few transportation options out of that field."

But questions over where the oil will go keep popping up.

"This oil was always destined for overseas," U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said last month.

"Regardless of who says that the oil was going off shore, nothing could be further from the truth," Howard said.

A few miles south of Daniel's land, Eleanor Fairchild worries big money is clouding judgment in Washington D.C. and putting the environment at risk.

"I'm not as angry at TransCanada as I am with the officials that work for us," she said.

"I have had more access to the State Department, the EPA and the White House than I have had to my own representatives here in Texas," Daniel said.

Daniel and Fairchild both said they'll continue their fight against TransCanada. The company could break ground as early as March 1 and wants the new line complete by 2013.


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