As the Keystone XL pipeline remains mired in the national debate over environmental safety and climate change, another company, Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, is hoping to begin construction early next month on a 600-mile-long pipeline that would carry tar sands from Flanagan, Ill., about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, to the company's terminal in Cushing, Okla. From there the company could move it through existing pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries.
The company is seeking an expedited permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its Flanagan South pipeline, which would run parallel to another Enbridge route already in place. Unlike the Keystone project, which crosses an international border and requires State Department approval, the proposed pipeline has attracted little public attention - including among property owners living near the planned route.
Enbridge says it wants to be a good neighbor to the communities the pipeline would pass through, and it has been touting the hundreds of short-term construction jobs it would create. The company also scheduled a series of "open houses" for this week in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois in which it invited the public to come discuss and learn about its plans.
A session Tuesday in Marshall, 90 miles east of Kansas City, drew a handful of Sierra Club protesters armed with fliers denouncing what's been called one of the country's costliest oil spills. It also attracted local politicians, concerned landowners and prospective pipefitters looking for work.
Enbridge responded with an array of free products, from tote bags and tape measures to cookies and key rings.
Wayne McReynolds, one of the 55 people who stopped by the open house in Marshall, said he hoped to learn more about the company's plans to prevent construction runoff from flooding valuable farmland. He said he left the event with only vague assurances, not specific answers.
"You never put the soil back in the trench to the same extent it was taken out," said McReynolds, a retired soil and conservation worker. "It can't be done."
Mike Diel of Macon, Mo., said he's had no luck getting Enbridge or the corps to give him specific details about the project, including a precise pipeline map and copies of emergency response plans.
"We're all worried about oil spills and the tar sands getting into the drinking water," Diel said.
"Until I know where the pipeline is going, how am I supposed to know what I'm supposed to be worried about?" he said.
Enbridge spokeswoman Katie Lange said fears about the pipeline's safety are overblown. She described routine aerial patrols of the pipeline and its seven pump stations and round-the-clock computer monitoring in Calgary that "can shut it down from just a touch of a button" if necessary.
"Once the pipeline is in the ground, there's a very rigorous and robust operations and maintenance program," Lange said.
But Sierra Club lawyer Doug Hayes said those assurances are insufficient, given recent history. A July 2010 rupture of an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan dumped an estimated 1 million gallons of the heavier diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River, a 35-mile portion of which remained closed to public access for two years. The U.S. Department of Transportation subsequently fined Enbridge $3.7 million.
More recently, an ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Ark., led to the evacuation of 22 homes and further scrutiny of the long-distance transportation of tar sands oil, a denser substance that is more difficult to clean up.
Lange confirmed that Enbridge is seeking regulatory approval under the Nationwide 12 permit process, which would mean the company wouldn't be obligated to follow more rigorous Clean Water Act requirements such as public notification or lengthy environmental reviews. Those permits are limited to utility projects in which each water crossing disrupts no more than one-half acre of wetlands. The Flanagan South pipeline would cross the Missouri and Mississippi rivers as well as hundreds of smaller tributaries.
"This is a 600-mile project that will clear everything in its path for a 100-foot right of way," Hayes said. "And they're treating it as thousands of separate, little projects."
The Sierra Club lawyer said the Army Corps rejected several Freedom of Information Act requests seeking more project details, citing an exemption for "deliberative process privilege" designed to protect internal decision-making.
TransCanada of Calgary is also seeking Nationwide 12 status for the Keystone XL project, prompting the Sierra Club to file suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Hayes declined to discuss whether the environmental group also plans a legal challenge to the Flanagan South project.
A spokeswoman in the Army Corps' Kansas City office on Tuesday referred questions about the project's permit status to a regulatory colleague who did not respond.
In western Illinois, local officials eagerly anticipate Enbridge's arrival, said Kim Pierce, executive director of the Macomb Area Economic Development Commission. The company plans to build four pumping stations in the state, including one near Quincy along the Missouri border. In addition to the temporary construction jobs, the region can also expect a purchasing boost at area restaurants, hotels and in equipment sales, she said.
"Come Saturday at quitting time, we can expect a lot of people out, relaxing and purchasing things," she said. "We truly see this as an opportunity. You don't always get that handed to you."
Count Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon among the project's supporters. The two-term Democrat said in March 2012, when Enbridge announced its plans, that the company could add "thousands of jobs" to the state while also providing "a boost to America's energy independence."
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Mariano Rivera was held in the bullpen out in right-center field until Neil Diamond had sung the final words of "Sweet Caroline" in the middle of the eighth inning during Tuesday night's All-Star game.
And then the opening notes of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" - his Yankee Stadium theme song but unfamiliar on the road - rang out over the public-address system as the greatest reliever of all-time jogged toward the mound. The record crowd of 45,186 gathered at Citi Field on this humid summer night rose and cheered, knowing this was a moment people will remember much more than the American League's 3-0 victory.
Quiet, reserved and understated during nearly a quarter-century in a sport that took him from Panama to the pantheon of pinstriped pitchers, Rivera was being honored with that rarest of baseball tributes - a solo bow.
As he reached the brown circle in the center of the green diamond, Rivera realized he was the only person on the field.
Sinatra. Springsteen. The Mick - Jagger and Mantle. They all got to stand in the spotlight alone. And now it was Rivera's turn.
He took off his cap, waved it to all sides of the ballpark. He touched his hat to his heart.
His AL All-Star teammates stood by the third-base dugout rail and applauded, just like the fans. So did his NL opponents on the first-base side. With no other players in fair territory, he finally started tossing his warmup pitches to catcher Salvador Perez.
Like Ted Williams at Boston's Fenway Park in 1999 and Cal Ripken Jr. at Seattle's Safeco Field two years later, one man transcended all the rest of the gathered talent.
"You're supposed to know your team is behind you," Rivera said. "I didn't know what to do. Just keep throwing the ball, I guess, because it was so weird."
And then, after a 90-second standing ovation, eight AL position players came on the field. Normalcy resumed. Rivera threw 16 pitches - all cutters - and retired Jean Segura, Allen Craig and Carlos Gomez, sending the side down in order the way he has so many times before.
"He still can pitch for three or four more years. He's the best," Gomez explained. "After I got to the dugout, I say I'm going to be history because I'm the last guy Mariano got out in the All-Star game."
Rivera then walked to the dugout to another standing ovation and was given a hug by Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
"It's kind of surreal for me," Verlander said. "I just wanted to give him the respect and the respect that he deserved, I just happened to be standing out there and I was the first one he came to. That's something that I will never forget."
AL manager Jim Leyland decided to pitch Rivera in the eighth instead of the ninth, worried that if the NL somehow rallied Rivera might not get into the game.
"I just couldn't take any chance," Leyland said. "You know, I'm probably not the most popular manager in baseball. I wanted to make sure I got out of here alive."
Rivera has never allowed an earned run in nine All-Star innings. The only older pitcher to appear in an All-Star game was 47-year-old Satchel Paige 60 years ago, according to STATS. At 43, Rivera was the oldest All-Star since Carlton Fisk in 1991.
Of course, he was selected the All-Star MVP. Never having had a chance for a talk, Mets star David Wright pulled Rivera aside at baseball's red-carpet event before the game.
"Before it was too late, I had enough courage to kind of go grab him and just tell him how much I appreciate his body of work, the way he carries himself, how great of an ambassador he is to this game," Wright said. "Forget about the numbers. Forget about being the greatest closer of all-time. The way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business is special."
After the game, still smiling, sometimes laughing, Rivera spoke in the interview room as his family stood behind him.
"It was tough. It was special," an emotional Rivera said. "Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout, managers, coaches, players - priceless."
Jose Bautista's fourth-inning sacrifice fly off loser Patrick Corbin stopped a 17-inning scoreless streak for the AL that dated to Adrian Gonzalez's homer off Cliff Lee two years ago in Arizona. J.J. Hardy added an RBI groundout in the fifth, and Jason Kipnis doubled home a run in the eighth off Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.
Rivera and nine other pitchers combined on a three-hitter, with Chris Sale getting the win. Joe Nathan worked the ninth, handing the final ball to Rivera as the AL ended a three-game losing streak and regained home-field advantage in the World Series.
So even when the Mets hosted the All-Star game for the first time in 49 years, the spotlight fell on a rival Yankee.
Hours after the game, a video board at Citi Field reminded people the All-Stars will gather next year at Minnesota's Target Field.
But the great Rivera won't be among them.
"It's been a privilege," Rivera said to the crowd, speaking on the field after the game. "You guys almost made me cry."
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - For the first time in more than a decade, bars in downtown Carbondale will be allowed to open on Halloween.
City Council members voted 4-2 on Tuesday to let bars in an area known as "The Strip" operate this year. City officials say they'll allow the bars to open for business as part of a one-year experiment.
The bars have had to shut down for the past 12 years after rioting and vandalism in the college town in far-southern Illinois.
Councilwoman Jane Adams says she supports the change, which will allow three bars to operate.
She says the new regulations won't lead to a "street party."
But Mayor Joel Fritzler voted against the move. He says any Halloween mayhem could hamper development.
Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Felix Hernandez and Matt Moore.
Heat and more heat.
Even with its own studs such as Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw, the National League couldn't match up. The AL's 3-0 victory at Citi Field on Tuesday night was an arms showcase.
"We all came tonight and we brought it," Scherzer said. "You got guys who just can absolutely light up a radar gun, but not only that, throw multiple offspeed pitches for strikes."
It was just the third shutout for the AL, following 1946 at Boston's Fenway Park and 1990 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
Scherzer, throwing at up to 99 mph, pitched a 1-2-3 first. Sale followed with a pair of perfect innings, reaching 96 mph.
Six up. Six down.
Against baseball's best.
"I don't think I've been a part of a baseball experience like that in my entire life," Sale said.
The rest weren't shabby either, with Greg Holland topping out at 97 and Grant Balfour at 95. Matt Moore, Steve Delabar and Joe Nathan all reached 94, Brett Cecil 93 and Felix Hernandez 92, throwing sinkers on nine of 13 pitches.
Mariano Rivera threw 16 pitches, all cutters ranging from 89-91, in a perfect eighth remembered for his introduction, when the other All-Stars left the field to him alone during a 1 1-2 minute ovation.
The NL managed three hits and one walk for four baserunners in all. And these weren't just any batters, but All-Star sluggers with shining colored spikes and enough honors to fill two dozen trophy dens.
"It's not fun," said David Wright of the host New York Mets. "You think of the broad spectrum of being an All-Star and it gets you excited. And then when you get down to the nitty-gritty and you look in there and you've got to face those pitchers, it's like, `OK, maybe this isn't as fun as I thought it was going to be.' Every guy comes in throwing high 90s with good secondary pitches. And this is difficult."
Carlos Beltran's one-out single to left-center in the fourth against King Felix gave the NL its first baserunner, and pinch runner Andrew McCutchen was stranded on third base when Wright grounded out.
Hernandez isn't used to warming up in the middle of a game.
"It was pretty weird. I don't feel that comfortable that way," he said.
Michael Cuddyer reached on a leadoff walk against Balfour in the sixth, Wright singled softly to center against Greg Holland in the seventh and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to deep right off Nathan in the ninth.
"That's a good lineup we threw out there, a lot of great hitters," NL manager Bruce Bochy said. "They shut us down."