Some East Texans happy about pipeline delay

Vicki Baggett is a volunteer coordinator for the Stop Tarsands Oil Pipeline group.
Vicki Baggett is a volunteer coordinator for the Stop Tarsands Oil Pipeline group.

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - After protesting an oil pipeline that would ship 700,000 barrels of crude daily from Alberta, Canada, through East Texas to refineries on the Gulf Coast, Vicki Baggett says her group has seen a small victory.

"I was really excited," Baggett said. "It's obviously a big step and you work this hard and it's good to see this kind of progress and it's good to see that your message is being heard."

The obama Adminstration announced it would delay a decision on the massive Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline until it can study new potential routes that avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

The move will likely put off final action on the pipeline until after the 2012 election.

Which means more time for people like Baggett to push for it to stay out of East Texas.

"They're talking about re-routing around the Ogallala aquifer, but they're not talking about re-routing around our aquifer," Baggett said.

Transcanada says they're confident the pipeline will be approved in the end.

But, now some say the project that could potentially be buried.

The company says "if Keystone XL dies, Americans will still wake up the next morning and continue to import 10 million barrels of oil from repressive nations, without the benefit of thousands of jobs and long-term energy security. That would be a tragedy."

"They're claiming that, but the economic development is really for them," Baggett said. "This pipeline is an export pipeline. This pipeline will not reduce our dependence on anything. It's to be exported. Some of it may be sold back to us, it may not. It's not really in our hands. It's a market issue."

Time will tell if the 36-inch pipeline carrying oil derived from tar sands will actually end up running through the pineywoods.

For now, Baggett says a little progress is no reason to relax.

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