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Heated Debate Surrounds Pipeline Project Stretching from Canada to Port Arthur, Texas

On September 26, 2011, the city of Port Arthur, Texas hosted a state public hearing to discuss Key Stone XL which is a project to create a crude pipeline system which stretches from Canada to Texas. Sources say the 1,700 mile pipeline project will connect the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries in Port Arthur, Texas. According to reports, hundreds of supporters of the pipeline attended the event making it a virtual rally for the project. Sources say that the pipeline construction project is being proposed by a Calgary based company TransCanada.

According to local sources, during the first two hours of the meeting the only critical comments of the pipeline centered on concerns that the jobs created would not go to Southeast Texans and the State Department was moving to slow in allowing a permit. One member of the Texas House noted that the environmental impact had already been assessed and that people need jobs.

Reportedly, earlier in the day 200 people attended a meeting in Topeka, Kansas, with a drastically different atmosphere than the one seen in Port Arthur. Sources say during the Kansas meeting a number of environmentalists spoke against the pipeline, claiming it would move a “dirtier” and “environmentally devastating form of energy” from Canada through six U.S. states before reaching Port Arthur.

Many critics of the Keystone XL project believe the damage from pipeline ruptures and subsequent oil spills outweighs the benefits of job creation. On the other hand, proponents of the pipeline offset that concern by pointing to TransCanada’s estimation of the pipeline creating 20,000 jobs in the United States.