Nebraska regulators approve Keystone XL pipeline route

Nebraska commission approves Keystone XL route, clearing obstacle for TransCanada's hotly disputed oil pipeline

Keystone XL Pipeline Clears Major Regulatory Hurdle

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.

In a written decision, the panel said it was in the public's interest to put the new pipeline nearer to the current one to maximize monitoring resources, to impact less of the habitat of endangered species, and other route benefits. If constructed, the pipeline, which would be an add-on to the existing Keystone pipeline that was completed in 2010, would carry an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil a day.

This comes days after more than 200,000 gallons of oil leaked from the pipeline in South Dakota.

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Officials said they believed the air was safe to breathe and that drinking water wasn't affected. Firefighters who responded were inside when the second explosion occurred at around 10:40 a.m.

But the regulators devised a different route for the pipeline than had originally been planned, leaving the future of the project unclear.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission on Monday approved a route for the proposed pipeline, but it veers away from a route preferred by developer TransCanada and approved by the federal government. That has given the project's opponents-including environmental conservationists, Native American tribes, and landowners along the pipeline's prospective route-new grounds for arguing against the pipeline, as the new route has not been as thoroughly vetted, Bloomberg reports.

Still, the decision is a clear victory for TransCanada Corp., the company behind the project. Rejected by President Obama in 2015, the pipeline was approved by the Trump administration in May.

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Environmentalists and landowners along the route have opposed the project over such concerns as spills and climate change.

Opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline say a Nebraska commission's decision to approve an alternative route will enable them to take actions that could indefinitely block the project.

Commissioner Crystal Rhoades, who voted against the project, said she did so for several reasons including that TransCanada had not proven that it could not use the same route as its existing pipeline through the state.

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