Green Light Given to Keystone XL Oil Pipeline in Nebraska


Nebraska's Public Service Commission cleared a path for TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Monday when it granted final approval in a narrow 3-2 vote for the line to pass through the state, removing a major regulatory barrier for the project.

Environmentalists hailed yesterday's decision as a victory for a small but vocal contingent of Nebraska farmers and ranchers who have been opposed to the pipeline. "Nebraska court approves controversial Keystone XL pipeline", the Guardian wrote, in a typical headline. George W. Bush was president, and oil prices peaked at almost $150 a barrel that summer. In response, activists in Seattle will be targeting JPMorgan Chase, the primary financier of TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline.

She expressed scepticism about the pipeline's touted economic gains, along with concerns that some landowners were not properly informed of the alternative route's path through their property. It will also require TransCanada to win over a host of new landowners along the alternative route.

In 2013, then-U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy challenged State's EIS on the grounds that it gave short shrift to the effect on global warming that encouraging additional production of oil sands crude might have.

After six years of review, former President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada's proposal in 2015 for the route the PSC approved.

When Donald Trump permitted the Keystone XL in March, he had ribbed Girling.

In a White House statement, Trump called it "a great day" for both US job creation and energy security. "What is wrong - and what we will continue to fight - is that this pipeline is still on the table".

The decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) comes just days after a section of the pipeline in nearby South Dakota leaked 210,000 gallons of oil.

The panel said in a written decision that the alternative route was only eight kilometres longer than the preferred route, in the public interest, and that TransCanada had told the commission it was still a viable and beneficial route. While the plan to build was approved, the proposed route by TransCanada (now the sole company that owns the Keystone XL project) was not approved. But it didn't hand TransCanada everything it wanted (Greenwire, Nov. 20).

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The federal government has a say in whether the pipeline is built because it crosses an worldwide border from Canada. They also said that responsibility for the clean - up rests with TransCanada, and that the company had dispatched crews to clean the spill up within 15 minutes of the accident.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said Monday that the company will assess how the ruling would affect the project's schedule and cost.

Well, lawsuits, for one thing (Energywire, Nov. 20).

The company submitted three proposed routes to the Nebraska commission.

This year, WCS has traded in a narrow band to US crude, signalling there's enough room to move barrels on existing pipelines, said Judith Dwarkin, chief economist at RS Energy Group in Calgary.

The case is In the Matter of the Application of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP for Route Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, 0p-0003, Nebraska Public Service Commission (Lincoln).

TransCanada wants to build the almost 1,200-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Canada through several states, including South Dakota.

Environmental groups spearheaded by Bold Alliance and the Sierra Club claimed the conduit would require an 80- to 110-foot-wide construction right-of-way, fifty feet of which would remain after completion, with the potential to devastate environmentally sensitive areas and harm endangered species. Furthermore, the shale revolution completely changed the United States' relationship with oil and gas.

The market will be watching developments closely as the need for new heavy oil supplies in the Gulf Coast grow.