The Nebraska Public Service Commission upheld its November decision to allow the construction of the controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, although it demanded a change of its route. Now the watchdog has upheld its decision in the face of opposition from the project developer, TransCanada, which wanted to build the pipeline along a shorter route.
However, Nebraska landowners who had challenged the original route considered the regulator’s decision to be a victory. Lawyers for these landowners told media after the decision was announced that it was the worst possible one for TransCanada. Still, the Canadian company said the change of route will not have an impact on the project costs and they will remain around US$6.3 billion.
Keystone XL is planned to carry Albertan crude through Montana and South Dakota, ending in Nebraska, where it would connect to the existing pipeline network that goes on to the Gulf Coast. It took the project nine years to get the final go-ahead from all authorities concerned, but this doesn’t mean TransCanada’s Keystone XL worries are over.
The company has yet to make the final investment decision on Keystone XL, after it spent four months in open season to see if there is sufficient interest from potential buyers of the crude the pipeline will transport. At the same time, TransCanada is being pressured by Albertan oil producers to make up its mind.
Meanwhile, environmental organizations are suing the presidential administration for failing to make an accurate assessment of the environmental impacts of the project. The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said that the case alleged that the U.S. Department of State and other agencies failed to make an adequate environmental review of the project as they based their conclusions on an environmental impact statement from three years ago and failed to take into account important information about the actual environmental impact that the pipeline would have.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.