April 4, 2011 / 7:00 PM / 6 years ago

TransCanada says NY Times attack on pipeline unfair

* NYT calls on U.S. to reject Keystone line

* TransCanada says editorial not fair and balanced (In U.S. dollars unless noted)

CALGARY, Alberta, April 4 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) said on Monday it’s disappointed by an editorial in the New York Times that urged the U.S. State Department to reject the company’s bid to build a $7 billion oil pipeline across the U.S. Midwest from Canada.

TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline would carry crude oil produced in the oil sands of northern Alberta, and would stretch from near Edmonton, Alberta, to Nederland, Texas and link to TransCanada’s existing Keystone system, which now carries 591,000 barrels of crude per day as far as Cushing, Oklahoma.

The Obama administration last month ordered an additional environmental review of the project and the State Department will eventually rule on whether it will go ahead

TransCanada, Canada’s largest pipeline operator, says the XL expansion would boost the system’s capacity to around 1.1 million bpd and extend a line from the glutted Cushing storage hub to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it is intended to replace dwindling supplies from Mexico and Venezuela.

The company’s plans have been roundly criticized by some environmental groups and land owners along the route. They are concerned about the environmental costs of rising production from the oil sands and about the potential for spills in Nebraska, where the line crosses the massive Ogallala aquifer.

TransCanada argues that the aquifer is already crisscrossed with pipelines and that its new line would be built to the highest standard. It says it is not responsible for the development of the oil sands,

The Times, often considered the most influential newspaper in the United States, sided with the environmental groups. Its editorial urged the State Department to deny TransCanada a permit to build Keystone XL, citing the risks to the aquifer as well as the higher greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems that result from oil sands production.

It also said that existing pipeline space was adequate for expanded exports from Canada, the biggest oil supplier to the United States.

“Moving ahead would be a huge error,” the editorial stated. “From all of the evidence, Keystone XL is not only environmentally risky, it is unnecessary.”

TransCanada condemned the editorial as unbalanced and said recent editorials in the Washington Post and USA Today, which supported the project, were more accurate.

“We think it’s very unfortunate that the New York Times, with the credibility that publication has, did not offer a fair and balanced editorial opinion on the project unlike what other outlets in the U.S. have done recently,” said James Millar, a spokesman for the company. (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway)

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