Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Canadian company that wants to pipe oil from western Canada to Texas is working with U.S. officials to develop safety standards beyond those required by law, and make the pipeline as safe as possible.

Calgary-based TransCanada wants to build a 1900 mile pipeline to carry crude oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur.

Under the current plan, the pipeline will cross six states on its way to the Gulf Coast, and it will come through Angelina County.

Responding to concerns from environmentalists and others in the pipeline's proposed path, a spokesman for TransCanada says the company has agreed to a total of 57 conditions above and beyond industry standards for the $7 billion Keystone XL project.

Among other changes, the company has agreed to build the pipeline 4 feet below ground, instead of 3 feet, and will allow more inspections.  It also will install more safety shut-off valves than usual.

The project would double the capacity of an existing pipeline from Canada, and supporters say it could significantly reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

The State Department has authority over the pipeline because it crosses an international boundary. Clinton is expected to make a final decision on the project by the end of the year.

TransCanada officials have scheduled public meetings this fall in the states in the path of the pipeline.

via Clinton: TransCanada to upgrade pipeline safety - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |.

Environmental groups say the Keystone XL pipeline would bring "dirty oil" that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill.  For these and other reasons, a group of scientists is asking President Barack Obama to block the pipeline.

via 20 Scientists call on President Obama to block Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and invite public to join protests | Elizabeth Shope's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.