Work begins on TransCanada Pipeline in Lamar County

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PARIS, TX -- Crews are beginning to clear brush to start construction on the TransCanada pipeline in Lamar County. The pipeline will carry crude oil from Canada to the Gulf.

Right now 85 workers have set up in the county, and hundreds more are expected.

Some residents are concerned about potential environmental impacts. One Lamar county landowner is even in a legal battle, fighting to keep the pipeline from crossing her land.

But as Morgan Downing shows us, city officials and several residents are all for the project, because of the money they say it'll bring to the local economy.

Work has begun on TransCanada's Gulf Extension pipeline. The pipeline will pass through Lamar County and though it's been controversial, many Lamar county residents are glad workers are in town.

"We are okay with the pipeline coming through Lamar County. And we understand the pipeline is part of economic progress. We understand it's part of America's energy solution," said Lamar County Judge, Chuck Superville.

Pipeline construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2013. That means over the next several months, hundreds of employees are expected to be in and out of Lamar County.

"We do get an economic flurry when they're in the neighborhood," Superville said.

"Big numbers, been sold out a lot of times that we wouldn't have been sold out," said Gail Dority the manager of Holiday Inn Express.

Hotels in Paris are booked. Hotel manager Gail Dority says during this time hotel business usually starts slowing down. But not this year.

"I've even had to walk a few guests to another hotel because of it," she said.

Restaurant owners are also reaping the benefits, Fish Fry is a local favorite, and plenty of workers have already stopped by.

"I've recognized new customers and made contact with several new people that have visited our restaurant already on a regular basis and hopefully continue to do so, so long as they're working."

This is not the first pipeline project to go through Lamar County, but it is the first to carry crude oil. Judge Superville says the pipeline contractors are buying equipment from local vendors as well. He believes the economic impact could outweigh what some landowners say is an environmental risk.

"We care about that but we perceive that as being not that big of a threat to us," Superville said.

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