Alberta 'very pleased' with Nebraska's approval of Keystone XL, Notley says

Ivan Schwartz
November 21, 2017

But the vote could allow developer TransCanda access property of holdout landowners and proceed with the $8 billion project, which stretches from the northern US border, through the country's oil-rich western states to Gulf Coast oil refineries.

Dennis Daugaard says he hopes people who exercise their First Amendment rights will do so peacefully after a Nebraska commission approved a Keystone XL oil pipeline route through that state. The proposed Keystone XL route would cross parts of Montana, South Dakota and most of Nebraska to Steele City, Nebraska.

The five-member commission rejected TransCanada's preferred route and voted to approve an alternative route that would move the pipeline further east.

No matter what the commission decided, any group that presented arguments at an August hearing could appeal the decision to a state district court. They have said they are anxious spills could pollute water critical for grazing cattle, and that tax revenue and jobs will be short-lived.Just days ago, TransCanada's existing Keystone system spilled 5,000 barrels in South Dakota and pipeline opponents said the spill highlighted the risks posed by the proposed XL expansion."Common sense has gone out the window on this project", said rancher Randy Thompson after the commission's decision.The commission's approval of TransCanada's "alternative" route surprised some Nebraskans. The Canadian government had urged President Barack Obama to approve the project, touting its job-creating potential.

The decision Monday comes after years of regulatory review - and less than a week after TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL, reported a spill of some 210,000 gallons of oil from another of its conduits near Amherst, S.D.

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President Donald Trump issued a federal permit for Keystone XL in March, after it had been blocked by the Obama administration.

The simplest choice was a yes-or-no vote on TransCanada's "preferred route" through a dozen Nebraska counties. The ruling is also nearly certain to face legal challenges, and is likely to end up at the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The pipeline transports crude from the Alberta oilsands in Canada, to refineries in IL and Oklahoma, passing through North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. After years of lobbying for the project, TransCanada acknowledged in a July conference call that executives won't decide until late November or early December whether to begin construction. "While we are very pleased with Nebraska's approval, it underscores that Canadian regulators need to keep pace if we are going to build a truly diversified set of markets".

TransCanada said in its statement that it expected the pipeline to remain shut down as the company responds to the leak. Nebraska had been the only state yet to approve the pipeline's route. TransCanada's webpage boasts of having safely transported more than 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil through the Keystone network since 2010. But it has yet to announce results of its open season to gauge interest among shippers, which closed at the end of October. Federal regulators said an "anomaly" on a weld on the pipeline was to blame.

"Western Canada has been held captive by geography and hasn't been able to cheaply access the markets", Rogers said last week.

Other reports by GizPress

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