Texas landowner, TransCanada tussle in court over whether tar sands are the same as crude oil

HOUSTON – A Texas landowner is attempting get a county judge to stop construction of a TransCanada Corp. pipeline across his property until the court decides whether the pipe will be carrying crude oil or something fundamentally different.

Nacogdoches County Court-at-Law Judge Jack Sinz will hear arguments Wednesday.

Landowner Michael Bishop wants all pipeline work on his 20-acre property to stop until the judge rules on whether the pipeline will be actually carrying crude oil.

Bishop says the company lied and that tar sands oil is not crude. Calgary-based TransCanada (TSX:TRP) insists it is.

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline is meant to transport material from Alberta’s oilsands to Texas refineries.

The oilsands’ tarry bitumen — sometimes called tar sands — is usually mixed with a diluent that softens it and makes it easier to flow through pipelines as its transported to refineries.

Environmentalists and other critics of the oilsands argue that diluted bitumen is more corrosive than conventional crude but the oilsands industry counters that the modern pipeline technology will protect the environment from spills.

The section of the pipeline that would cross the international border has not been approved. A shorter portion from Oklahoma to Texas is under construction.




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