TransCanada Corp. is once again seeking approval for the Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska. The company will file an application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) to avoid further delay stemming from a legal dispute in the state’s Supreme Court.
TransCanada is also in the process of withdrawing its current eminent domain actions and is taking steps to terminate constitutional court proceedings in Holt County, Nebraska, according to a Sept. 30 company announcement.
“After careful review, we believe that going through the PSC process is the clearest path to achieving route certainty for the Keystone XL project in Nebraska,” said TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling. “It ultimately saves time, reduces conflict with those who oppose the project and sets clear rules for approval of the route.”
The proposed route is the route that was evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman in 2013.
This route is also the preferred route of the majority of Nebraskans who participated in a thorough comment period that included open house discussions and allowed for hundreds of additional comments.
The review also included conversations with landowners along the pipeline corridor, 91 percent who have now signed voluntary easements to construct Keystone XL.
The project has undergone five independent reviews of safety and potential environmental impacts by the U.S. State Department as well as one authored by the State of Nebraska after its year-long public process. All reviews concluded the project could be constructed and operated safely with minimal impact to the environment.
Despite having route authority to construct Keystone XL, uncertainty in the courts around the constitutionality of how the route was approved was very likely to carry on once again to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
“Our goal is to achieve route certainty in Nebraska in a timely manner,” Girling said. “We have concluded that seeking route approval from the PSC gives us the best opportunity to build a pipeline the majority of Americans and Nebraskans support.”
Keystone XL is a 1,179-mile pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, and will transport Canadian and U.S. Bakken oil to U.S. markets.