The Nebraska Public Service Commission's impending ruling is on the Nebraska route TransCanada has proposed to complete the US$8 billion, 1900 km pipeline to deliver oil from Alberta to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The proposed Keystone XL route would cross parts of Montana, South Dakota and most of Nebraska to Steele City, Nebraska.
The decision is the last major regulatory hurdle facing project operator TransCanada Corp.
A vote in favour of the company’s proposed route through Nebraska would give a boost to the long-delayed project, which was rejected by President Barack Obama in 2015, citing concerns about carbon pollution. President Donald Trump revived it in March, approving a permit.
The five member Nebraska Public Service Commission is forbidden by law from factoring pipeline safety or the risk of spills into its decision because pipeline safety is a federal responsibility.
The simplest choice is a yes-or-no vote on TransCanada's "preferred route" through a dozen Nebraska counties. But the commission could include major caveats that would add years to the project's timetable.
Commissioners could tweak TransCanada's proposed route, or pick one of the company's "alternative" routes. Company officials have said their preferred route causes the least amount of disruption.
If the commission denies the request outright, state law gives TransCanada a 60 day window to revise and resubmit its proposal for another review.
The commission's vote could play a pivotal role in whether TransCanada moves ahead with the pipeline. After years of lobbying for the project, TransCanada acknowledged in a July conference call that executives won't decide until late November or early December whether to begin construction.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/20112017/nebraska-decides-on-keystone-xl-today/