Nebraska commission approves Keystone XL pipeline route

The Keystone XL pipeline passed a major hurdle on Monday after Nebraska regulators approved the route for the project, which faced opposition via environmentalists in addition to also the Obama administration.

The approval is actually also something of a victory for President Donald Trump, who overturned his predecessor’s decision on a pair of controversial pipelines within the opening days of his presidency.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3 to 2 to approve TransCanada’s route for Nebraska’s portion of the nearly 1,0-mile pipeline. However, the future of the project is actually still subject to the outcome of a likely legal battle, in addition to also could yet be derailed by problematic economics in an age of low oil prices.

Groups which opposed the construction can appeal the commission’s decision in state district court. the idea also remains to be seen whether the project is actually still commercially viable following three years of weak oil prices.

“As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would certainly impact the cost in addition to also schedule of the project,” TransCanada President in addition to also CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

Nebraska landowners fought a yearslong legal battle with TransCanada over the project. The company withdrew its application with the state’s Public Service Commission in 2015 after the State Department blocked the pipeline. the idea submitted a completely new application with the commission in February after Trump issued an executive memo to advance the project.

Keystone XL pipeline route, source: TransCanada

The Keystone XL would certainly bring oil via Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, where the idea would certainly connect to an existing Keystone pipeline system. TransCanada shut part of the existing line last week after 5,000 barrels leaked via the system, contaminating land in northern South Dakota

Then-President Barack Obama refused to approve the cross-border project, saying the environmental review was not adequate in light of its route through the Sandhills ecosystem in Nebraska.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry denied TransCanada a presidential permit in November 2015, saying the Keystone XL would certainly not have a major impact on America’s energy security, lower gas prices or contribute meaningfully to the economy. At the same time, he said, the pipeline could impact local communities, water supplies in addition to also cultural heritage sites, in addition to also would certainly facilitate the import into the United States of “a particularly dirty source of fuel.”

TransCanada countered which the Keystone XL would certainly create thousands of construction jobs in addition to also generate tens of millions of dollars in property taxes annually to counties along the route.

Environmentalists oppose the project because the idea will encourage the development of Canada’s oil sands, a type of oil resource which requires more energy to tap than conventional reserves. The Keystone XL has become a lightning rod in a movement to discourage oil production by blocking pipelines, the primary way of transporting the idea to market.

“Today the Nebraska PSC chose to stand with Trump, climate denial, in addition to also Big Oil,” Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, said in a statement. “not bad luck with which. Whatever happens at This specific point there is actually precisely zero chance which the global citizen, investor, in addition to also government momentum behind the Paris [climate agreement] goals in addition to also against the fossil fuel industry will be stopped.”

Backers of the project say the idea will reduce U.S. reliance on oil via the Middle East in addition to also allow the country to fulfill its energy needs via one of its closest allies.

“Nebraska recognizes the Keystone XL pipeline is actually within the public interest bringing not bad paying jobs in addition to also more affordable energy for U.S. consumers,” Andy Black, president in addition to also CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, said in a statement.

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