TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline approved by Nebraska in 3-2 vote

Nebraska regulators are set to decide whether to approve or deny an in-state route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline

They have said they are anxious spills could pollute water critical for grazing cattle, and that tax revenue and jobs will be short-lived.Just days ago, TransCanada's existing Keystone system spilled 5,000 barrels in South Dakota and pipeline opponents said the spill highlighted the risks posed by the proposed XL expansion."Common sense has gone out the window on this project", said rancher Randy Thompson after the commission's decision.The commission's approval of TransCanada's "alternative" route surprised some Nebraskans.

In a written decision, the panel said it was in the public's interest to put the new pipeline nearer to the current one to maximize monitoring resources, to impact less of the habitat of endangered species, and other route benefits.

Daugaard said Monday he will continue supporting the proposed pipeline as long as it can be built and operated safely.

Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer, said the company is evaluating the commission's decision.

Nebraska was the last jurisdiction to approve the pipeline's route, which begins in Hardisty, Alberta, then crosses into Saskatchewan, as well as US states of Montana and South Dakota before reaching Steele City in Nebraska.

The decision Monday comes after years of regulatory review - and less than a week after TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL, reported a spill of some 210,000 gallons of oil from another of its conduits near Amherst, S.D.

The Commission did not grant approval for TransCanada's preferred route, however, instead giving the green light to an alternative path to the east.

The Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that has attracted significant protest from environmental groups, has cleared a major regulatory hurdle on its path to completion.

Keystone Pipeline Nebraska

Also the federal and state agencies that conducted studies of the proposed route did not examine the "mainline alternative route" approved by the commission, Rhoades said.

TransCanada wants to build the almost 1,200-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Canada through several states, including South Dakota.

Opponents of the project said the proposed route would have taken it through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region in Nebraska of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don't want it.

TransCanada Corp.'s plan to build a almost 1,200-mile (1,931-kilometer) pipeline faces intense opposition from environmental groups, Native American tribes and some landowners.

Still, those opposed to the project jumped on news of the alternative route by saying it could bring into doubt the future of the project.

"Significant hurdles remain to Keystone XL being built, including the growing economic uncertainty around tar sands, and the wave of resistance against risky fossil fuel pipeline projects". Rejected by President Obama in 2015, the pipeline was approved by the Trump administration in May. But businesses, unions and Republican lawmakers have largely supported the pipeline, which would move roughly 830,000 barrels of oil daily, as a jobs creator.

"Why should TransCanada be allowed to build a new pipeline when one of their existing pipelines had a massive spill just last week?"

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