The Keystone Pipeline was first proposed in 2005. Construction of the first phase of the project began in the second quarter of 2008. The Keystone XL portion of the project was first proposed that same year, with the first permit application submitted in September 2008. Here we are 11 years later still talking about getting the project approved, finally.
Well, on Aug. 23, Keystone XL took another tentative step forward when the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the 2017 route approval by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC).
For those living under a rock for the past decade, Keystone XL is a proposed 1,179-mile, 36-in. diameter crude oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska. At an estimated cost of $8 billion (USD), the pipeline will transport crude oil from Canada, as well as the Bakken shale region of Montana and North Dakota. The pipeline will have capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day to Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries.
Environmental groups had challenged the PSC decision to approve the project route on Nov. 20, 2017, by a vote of three-to-two. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the PSC decision, which approved the proposed Mainline Alternative Route, one of three proposed routes included in the application filed by TC Energy, formerly TransCanada Corp.
The company has been waiting a year and a half for this decision, but there’s one more obstacle to clear before the pipeline industry can finally celebrate.
Keystone XL still faces a challenge in Montana, after a November 2018 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris blocked construction activities in the state.
Following that up, President Donald Trump issued a new Presidential Permit for Keystone XL in March, superseding the one he issued in 2017. The Trump administration and TC Energy requested that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse Morris’ ruling.
Morris won’t take up the case until this fall. Justice Department attorneys are expected to present their argument to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 9. Environmental groups accused Trump of signing the new Presidential Permit to circumvent Morris’ order.
Perhaps by the end of the year, we’ll finally have the final answer on Keystone XL.