Nebraska regulators handed energy producers and President Donald Trump a major victory Monday after approving the hotly disputed Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve an expansion of the multi-billion Keystone line. It will pave the way for the transport of up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Former President Barack Obama blocked permits for the route in 2015 under the aegis that the project would hurt the fight against climate change. Trump later signed an executive order approving both the Keystone XL Pipeline and the equally controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
NPSC’s decision to move ahead on the pipeline comes after a separate section of the Keystone pipeline sprung a leak and dumped 210,000 gallons of oil into a rural area of South Dakota.
Nebraskan laws prohibit regulators from considering pipeline leaks or breaks when determining the fate of future projects.
TransCanada, the company behind the project, temporarily shuttered the pipeline after detecting a leak 35 miles south of one of the line’s pumping station. Company officials estimated Keystone leaked 5,000 barrels of oil before workers took the project offline.
State regulators and the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are working alongside the company to assess the situation and determine the cause of the leak. TransCanada claims the leak was contained within minutes.
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