Oil Pipeline Reps Reassure Officials About Road Repairs

Wed March 12, 2008 - Midwest Edition
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YANKTON, S.D. (AP) The Keystone crude oil pipeline won’t hurt local roads, representatives of the project told Yankton-area officials.

TransCanada plans to begin construction this spring on its 2,148-mi. (3,450 km) Keystone pipeline passing through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri before delivering Canadian crude to refineries in Patoka, Ill., and Cushing, Okla. The pipeline is expected to cost more than $5 billion.

Jeff Rauh, a Keystone Pipeline official, said the company will bore under roadways and that the bored holes will be the same size as the pipeline. That means there will be no chance for the ground to settle and damage roadways, he said.

“The exception [to boring] would be where we cross roads that are minimally maintained,” Rauh said. “Nevertheless, we remain responsible for whatever damage occurs associated with the pipeline project.”

TransCanada will work with local officials to determine the best routes for hauling heavy equipment, he said.

TransCanada will handle any leakage along the route, he added.

“If we are not responsive to cleaning up leaks, we will not be allowed to continue to operate at the federal level,” Rauh said. “At the state level, the [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] testified that if any responsible party … does not respond, they have the authority they need to force them to respond.”

If the project receives state and federal approval, construction will begin in May or June, he said, adding that most work in southeast South Dakota will occur in 2009.

The Keystone Pipeline could become operational in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company plans to drill its pipeline 60 ft. (18 m) under the Missouri River at Yankton this year, Rauh said.

TransCanada did a good job explaining impacts on roads and infrastructure, said Dave Mingo, Yankton community development director.

“Between the federal, state and local involvement in the review of this process, I’m very confident that any concerns will be addressed as the project moves along,” he said.

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