Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues [August 29, 2011]   [open pdf - 446KB]

"Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has 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 in the United States. Keystone XL would 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. The project is expected to cost more than $7.0 billion, of which at least $5.4 billion would be spent on the U.S. portion. TransCanada is planning to build a short additional pipeline so that oil from the Bakken formation in Montana and North Dakota can also be carried on the Keystone XL pipeline. […] Some contend that the Keystone XL project would secure growing Canadian oil supplies for the U.S. market, which could offset imports from less dependable foreign sources. They also claim that if oil sands output cannot flow to the United States, infrastructure to export it to Asia will likely develop. International pipeline projects like Keystone XL are not subject to the direct authority of Congress, but numerous Members of Congress have expressed support for, or opposition to, the pipeline proposal because of its potential environmental, energy security, and economic impacts. Congress may have an oversight role stemming from federal environmental statutes that govern the pipeline's application review process. The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938) would direct the President to issue a final order granting or denying the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline by November 1, 2011. Whatever the State Department's decision, legal challenges appear likely."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41668
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