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Environmentalists Rev Up Anti-Keystone XL Angst Amongst Landowners

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Landowners with property affected by the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline are environmentalists’ newest allies in the fight against the facility’s construction, according to a new Reuters report.

The Bold Nebraska group is seeking to create new roadblocks for the pipeline, which has received the green light from state regulators from an amended route that would reduce environmental impact.

“We hope to begin the education process with landowners so they understand this is a lifetime easement for a one-time payment,” Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska told Reuters. “We aim to engage at least 20 percent of the new landowners in the legal landowner group.”

Already, 100 landowners with property along the pipeline’s new route have signed up against the project, the activist group says.

Since TransCanada originally proposed Keystone XL a decade ago, U.S. oil production has doubled, from just over 5 million barrels per day to almost 10 million today. There has also been a massive buildout of oil pipelines in the United States, taking crude from the Bakken and the Permian to refineries on the East and Gulf Coasts. The new development makes the urgent need for the Keystone XL questionable, but the pipeline would go a long way towards keeping oil prices low.

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In Canada, the need for pipelines is more evident than ever. Western Canada Select (WCS), a benchmark for heavy crude from Alberta, routinely trades at a discount to West Texas Intermediate. However, that discount has worsened because of pipeline bottlenecks that has increased oil in storage in Canada.

Bloomberg Gadfly recently pointed out that there is a shortage of pipeline capacity from Canada equivalent to about 330,000 bpd this year, a deficit that will balloon to 700,000 bpd by 2019 as more oil sands projects come online at a time when all major pipeline projects have suffered serious delays.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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