Nebraskan Regulators Give Keystone XL Pipeline the Green Light

Keystone alternative route

Nebraska has given its OK to an alternative Keystone XL route

"That the Trump administration and the Nebraska Public Service Commission would choose to peddle this filthy substance is downright shameful", Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. However, within days after being sworn in earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum to restart the application process.

Canada sent about 99 percent of its crude exports to the US previous year with the remainder mostly going to the U.K., Italy and Spain from oil platforms off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Statistics Canada data show.

Dave Flute is the tribal chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.

Despite the opposition, the decision gives more certainty to the 1,900-kilometre pipeline that TransCanada has been working to develop for almost a decade, said Wood Mackenzie analyst Zachary Rogers.

The Keystone XL project, created to transport 830,000 barrels of oil 1,179 miles from northern Canada to Steele City, Neb., is now gasping the thin air of low oil prices, slowing production, rising expenses, sinking demand and intense civic opposition.

"Opponents have promised to file lawsuits to challenge the project, and TransCanada has said it won't decide until December if it has enough shippers to make the $8 billion project financially feasible", the Omaha continues.

Instead, the company's president and CEO Russ Girling said that they will "conduct a careful review" of the ruling, "while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project". He offered no further comment. But the pipeline company will not be allowed to build along its preferred route, the regulators announced, opening up new questions about how the project will proceed.

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The alternative route would then run alongside the existing pipeline until it connects with that pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska.

Among other concerns, opponents of the 1,897-kilometre Keystone XL project say the pipeline would pass through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region in Nebraska of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don't want it.

For TransCanada, the ruling throws up a host of new issues. He says the vote, "opens up a whole new bag of issues that we can raise".

Heather McWhorter, who serves as the Madison County planning and zoning administrator, said she was getting calls about the pipeline already Tuesday morning as a result of the public service commission's decision Monday.

Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission on a 3 to 2 vote approved an alternative route for Trans Canada's Keystone XL oil pipeline.

"Nebraska's decision today greatly diminishes the political risk for the project, likely clearing the way for increased volumes of West Canadian heavy crude to reach the Gulf Coast", Zachary Rogers, refining and oil markets research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said.

Some groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Consumer Energy Alliance, applauded the decision, saying the Keystone XL would provide "a stable and reliable supply" of oil for the U.S.

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"When TransCanada originally proposed the route, the energy economy was different".

The PSC determined the project is in Nebraska's public interest, overriding the objections of environmental conservationists, Native American tribes and landowners along the pipeline's prospective route.

Pipeline supporters say it would create jobs and tax breaks.

"These landowners will now have their land taken by the applicant and they may not even be aware that they were in the path of the approved route", she said.

The panel narrowly approved the project by a vote of three to two, marking the last major regulatory hurdle for the project that has been the focus of a long string of protests across the U.S.

"Should the project move forward using this route, TransCanada must be transparent with affected property owners and communities and be held to the highest levels of environmental safety", he said.

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