Nebraska regulators on Tuesday shot down a request from TransCanada to reconsider the proposed path of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the latest in a series of setbacks for the $8 billion project and one that leaves its future very much in doubt.
Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) last month green-lighted a route through its state, but the approved path wasn’t the one TransCanada prefers.
The Canadian company, which has been trying to complete the Canada-to-Texas project for the past decade, said it would ask Nebraska officials to rethink their decision and amend the approval to include the original route.
On Tuesday, they got their answer, with the five-member PSC unanimously rejecting motions to reconsider. The decision effectively ends the process in the state and leaves TransCanada with a decision of whether to scrap the project or move forward with the less-than-favorable path.
The company said it remains committed to Keystone, but also said it will take time to examine its options in light of the decision.
“Following today’s decision, we will take the time to review the decision and determine the appropriate next steps for the project in Nebraska. More importantly, Keystone XL remains a viable project with strong commercial support,” said company spokesman Terry Cunha. “The project continues to have widespread support of the U.S. and Canadian federal governments as well as state and provincial governments in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. President Trump and his administration continue to actively support Keystone XL and we expect to secure final federal permits in early 2018. We remain committed to the Keystone XL project.”
Environmentalists praised the decision and said it should lead TransCanada to kill Keystone once and for all.
“We are pleased the commission denied TransCanada’s motion to amend their application. This should send a message to TransCanada and their investors that Nebraskans don’t want their tar sands pipeline,” said Ken Winston, an attorney with the Sierra Club. “TransCanada should do the right thing for once and withdraw their application. If they choose to appeal, we will continue to fight the Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline until it is finally stopped.”
Keystone has become a major flashpoint between the energy industry and environmental groups. In 2015, then-President Obama cited concerns over climate change in denying presidential permits for the project, which would carry oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
President Trump made the project a campaign issue during his 2016 run, and shortly after taking office signed an executive order resurrecting it.
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