Nebraska approves alternative route for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska approves alternative route for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska approves alternative route for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline

Today, the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved a permit to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline but rejected TransCanada's preferred route through the state of Nebraska. But Daugaard says he recognizes some residents are disappointed by Nebraska's decision.

The commission was not allowed to take into account an oil spill on the existing Keystone pipeline last week.

Operated by TransCanada, the Keystone Pipeline System stretched 2,687 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, in Canada to Houston.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Chairman Dave Flute says members are "highly disappointed" with Nebraska's move considering the oil spill near their reservation.

The Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that has attracted significant protest from environmental groups, has cleared a major regulatory hurdle on its path to completion.

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

Earlier this year, the State Department issued a presidential permit for the pipeline's construction, reversing an Obama-era decision that prevented the project from progressing due to environmental concerns.

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The project has faced a barrage of criticism from environmental activists and some landowners for almost a decade.

Rhoades, the only commissioner to comment before the vote, said she was also voting no because the proposed pipeline route violates the due process of landowners, had not been studied enough, runs near the sensitive Sandhills ecological region and the Ogallala aquifer, does not provide enough economic benefits for the state, and the company hadn't consulted with Native Americans in the state.

Commissioners chose to approve an alternative route that would run farther north than TransCanada's preferred route.

Keystone XL would expand the existing Keystone pipeline, which went into service in July 2010. The current pipeline network runs south through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and extends east into Missouri and IL. Nebraska had been the only state yet to approve the pipeline's route. "Common sense has gone out the window on this project", he said.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley welcomed the news, saying the 830,000-barrel-a-day pipeline will mean greater energy security in North America.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said it had around 150 people on site working around the clock and the cause of the leak was under investigation. But it has yet to announce results of its open season to gauge interest among shippers, which closed at the end of October.

Rogers said Western Canadian producers have been forced to ship their product by train, which is more expensive than a pipeline, and Keystone XL would reduce costs and improve their bottom line.

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