Chairman Smitherman Applauds Commencement of TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Pipeline Operations


AUSTIN - Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman will speak in Beaumont tomorrow, February 26, during ceremonies marking the start of operation of TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Pipeline Project, which will deliver economic benefits, strengthen energy security and protect natural resources.

“Texans understand the importance of pipelines to our state and nation, and we recognize the crucial role the Gulf Coast Pipeline will have beyond the borders of our state,” said Chairman Smitherman.

“The Gulf Coast Pipeline will create thousands of jobs, will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for years to come, is the safest way to deliver oil to markets that demand it, and will help fuel our state and national economies for decades to come,” he said.

“On behalf of the Texas Railroad Commission and the people of Texas, I welcome the Gulf Coast Pipeline project and look forward to hearing that the Keystone XL Pipeline, its northern leg, is approved as soon as possible in Washington, D.C.”

Smitherman pointed out that the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project will transport growing supplies of U.S. and Canadian oil that will replace oil from unreliable sources in the Middle East and Venezuela. It will also assist producers in the Permian Basin and the Panhandle, who face transportation bottlenecks so that they can ship product to where it is needed.

Smitherman said the same positive impact the Gulf Coast Pipeline brought to Texas and Oklahoma during construction will continue during its operation. This same result can be reproduced in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska with approval of the Presidential Permit needed to build Keystone XL.

“It’s clear to me and it’s clear to the vast majority of Americans that the President should approve Keystone XL without further delay,” said Smitherman. “In Texas, we find it hard to understand how, after five exhaustive reviews, over five years, which no other pipeline in the United States has had to endure, Keystone XL still isn’t approved,” he said.

Chairman Smitherman said the Department of State’s most recent environmental impact statement, released on January 31, again confirmed that Keystone XL would have minimal impact on the environment.  “This should eliminate any doubt about the Gulf Coast Project’s sister pipeline to the north,” he said.

“As with the Gulf Coast Pipeline, I believe Keystone XL is in the nation’s best interest because it will strengthen U.S. energy security and create thousands of jobs and extended economic benefits.”

“It’s time to build Keystone XL.”


Chairman Barry Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011, and was elected Chairman in February 2012. In November 2012, Chairman Smitherman won a statewide election to the Commission with 74 percent of the vote, receiving more than 4.5 million votes. Chairman Smitherman currently serves as Texas’ representative on both the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Southern States Energy Board, and as Chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Gas Committee. He is on the Visiting Committee of the Bureau of Economic Geology with the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas School of Law Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, and the Eanes Education Foundation Advisory Board.