Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues [March 13, 2012]   [open pdf - 499KB]

"In 2008, Canadian pipeline company TransCanada filed an application with the U.S. Department of State to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Keystone XL would ultimately have the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day, delivering crude oil to the market hub at Cushing, OK, and further to points in Texas. TransCanada plans to build a pipeline spur so that oil from the Bakken formation in Montana and North Dakota can also be carried on Keystone XL. As a facility connecting the United States with a foreign country, the pipeline requires a Presidential Permit from the State Department. […] On February 27, 2012, TransCanada announced that it would proceed with development of the Keystone XL segment connecting Cushing, OK, to the Gulf Coast as a stand-alone project not requiring a Presidential Permit. […] The Obama administration supports TransCanada's plan to proceed with the southernmost segment of the Keystone XL pipeline while reserving judgment on a reconfigured northern segment until completion of a new Presidential Permit review. […] Changing, or eliminating altogether, the State Department's role in issuing cross-border infrastructure permits may raise questions about the President's executive authority, however. H.R. 3900 would seek to ensure that crude oil transported by the Keystone XL pipeline, or resulting refined petroleum products, would be sold only into U.S. markets, but could raise issues related to international trade agreements."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41668
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