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Enbridge, Enterprise To Increase Pipeline Capacity

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, whose construction has been delayed over environmental concerns, could now face some competition.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, two companies have announced plans to build pipelines that would carry out the same service as the XL, channeling oil from Canada's tar sands to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The two companies, Enbridge Incorporated of Calgary, Alberta and Enterprise Products Partners of Houston say they're going to expand pipeline capacity from Flanagan, Illinois to Cushing, Oklahoma and then on to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Together, they would move as much as 850,000 barrels a day of crude, primarily from Canada's tar sands.

Anthony Swift, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that group opposes the proposed pipelines, just as it opposes the Keystone, even though they're routed along existing pipeline routes. Swift says that's partly because the consistency of tar sands crude makes it more likely to cause spills.

ANTHONY SWIFT: It so thick that it has to be moved at high pressures that increase the temperatures that these pipelines run at.

YDSTIE: In addition, says Swift, tar sands crude is undesirable because the level of pollution associated with extracting and using it is higher than for many other forms of crude.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

While they do need to be approved by federal regulators, the newly announced pipelines don't need the same presidential sign-off as the stalled Keystone XL. That's because the cross-border pipelines they connect to have already been built.

YDSTIE: John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.