Regulators Approve New Route for the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone Steele City pumping station into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to in Steele City Neb. is seen in this Nov. 2015

Almost from the moment that TransCanada introduced the pipeline in 2008, the Keystone XL has attracted outsize attention. "They put all their eggs in the proposed route basket, so to speak, and that was denied", Jorde said of TransCanada's strategy.

The environmentalists said the State Department and other agencies relied on outdated environmental reviews for the Keystone XL pipeline and did not consider relevant information when Trump issued his executive action in January.

Monday's decision came just four days after another pipeline operated by the same company spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in neighboring South Dakota.

"As a result of today's decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission's ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project", CEO Russ Girling said in a statement. National environmental groups opposed the project on the grounds it would prod more tar sands development, the dirtiest source of oil, according to several authoritative studies, and pour millions more tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. She argued the secondary route wasn't adequately vetted. The so-called Mainline Alternative Route draws the XL closer to the alignment of the Keystone pipeline, its 7-year-old sister, which transports more than 500,000 barrels of Alberta tar sands oil daily to refinery hubs in Oklahoma and IL.

Schmidt said TransCanada visited the county about a year and a half ago to learn about the basic facts about the pipeline but haven't heard from the company since.

Commissioners could tweak TransCanada's proposed route, or pick one of the company's "alternative" routes.


Producers in the Alberta oil sands region and elsewhere in Western Canada are facing pipeline bottlenecks, forcing increased volumes onto rail cars.

Morris cited a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case concerning a federal visa exchange program.

The pipeline may also be more commercially viable given declining heavy oil production in Mexico and ongoing instability in Venezuela, said Zachary Rogers, a refining and oil markets research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in a statement. If TransCanada wants to proceed, it faces years of additional state regulatory review and court proceedings.

The 1,179-mile (1,800-kilometer) pipeline would transport Canadian crude through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

President Barack Obama's administration rejected the pipeline in 2015. The current pipeline runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and extends east into Missouri and IL. President Donald Trump revived it in March, approving a permit.

TransCanada has obtained final approval from state officials in Nebraska to build the controversial Keystone pipeline across Nebraska, even though these same officials vetoed what TransCanada has viewed as the preferred route.

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