Congressman Visits Keystone Pipeline In Atoka County - - No One Gets You Closer

Congressman Visits Keystone Pipeline In Atoka County


ATOKA, OK -- A congressman stopped to see the progress on a three-foot wide oil pipeline that is now under construction in two states. Meantime, one resident says he is upset about a slight deviation in the route.

Mile by mile, the Keystone pipeline comes through Atoka County, but not everyone is happy. "Well, they're not putting the pipeline where I thought they were gonna put it," says rancher Tinker Ray.

Ray says it is about 10 feet over from where he expected, too close to the gate where he gets cattle.

Across town at the construction yard south of Atoka, U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin told several Atoka County Chamber of Commerce members that even though the Oklahoma-Texas part is underway, he wants President Barack Obama to approve section going up into Canada.

"We want to show our support for this project, plus our district. I've spoke out loudly in Washington D.C. about this," says U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin, R-Tulsa. "All the environmental issues have been answered, they're out of excuses, but yet the president is still dragging his feet."

Keystone officials say after working in Paris, Tex., and Prague, Okla., the main work on the northern third of the pipeline moved to Atoka in January. More than 800 workers report here to Highway 69/75 and then go out to work on sections of the pipeline.

"So many people have called me over the past two or three months looking for R.V. parks or just apartments," says Chamber secretary Jewell Darst.

Resident Lonnie Ford told us that a couple months ago, he only had a few campers in his R.V. lot, but not anymore. "Running out of room. I got 24 here and that's just all I got. Every one in Atoka is filled up I guess," says Ford.

"About six weeks, there's been a lot of traffic coming in and out on these roads. A lot of workers, a lot of hard workers. They're coming in usually 8 in the morning staying until 7 at night," says one resident who lives near the construction.

Back at Ray's property, he says Keystone offered to pay for his gates. But he says it is not about money, but keeping their word. "They run the pipeline up there where it was gonna wipe out my corrals. Well I called them, I said, 'Hey boys, you all need to move that thing over.'"

Keystone spokesman Jim Prescott says they hope to have construction on the Gulf Coast portion -- from Cushing, Okla., to Nederland, Tex. -- finished by mid-summer, and then they will start filling the pipeline with oil.