Regulators approve alt route for pipeline

  • Regulators approve alt route for pipeline

Regulators approve alt route for pipeline

XL's route flexibility is also limited by where the pipeline exits South Dakota and enters Nebraska.

The approved route, known as the Mainline Alternative Route, hews closer to the existing Keystone pipeline through much of Nebraska. The decision, though, wasn't wrinkle-free: The panel mandated an alternative route that was immediately targeted by the project's opponents as lacking adequate vetting.

Organizations backing the pipeline, and President Trump's "energy dominance" agenda, were quick to praise the decision. Trump revived the project with an executive order during his first week in office and later gave it the required federal approvals.

Last week, TransCanada reported a 5,000-barrel spill from the existing Keystone pipeline in a rural part of South Dakota. She said that TransCanada didn't meet "the burden of proof" in proving that the pipeline is in the state's public interest, and that the alternative route needed more study on both the state and federal level.

The Keystone pipeline has been a flashpoint for environmentalists for several years.

In her dissent, Rhoades said she opposed the pipeline regardless of the route. Rhoades acknowledged that the commission was not supposed to weigh the risks of spills, but she said the state's Department of Environmental Quality had included it in the record. A TransCanada spokeswoman said Tuesday the cause is unknown.

Regulators approve alt route for pipeline
Regulators approve alt route for pipeline

Producers in the Alberta oil sands region and elsewhere in Western Canada are facing pipeline bottlenecks, forcing increased volumes onto rail cars. Many oil sands producers now ship crude by railroad, which is not immune from accidents. Since rail is a more expensive form of transport, heavy Canadian crude prices will need to trade at a bigger discount to West Texas Intermediate futures.

"There might be a lot of court cases and what-have-you to go, but on the whole I'd like to see them go ahead with this project", says portfolio manager Manash Goswami. In its first full year of operation, the Keystone XL would generate $11.8 million in additional property taxes for counties in the State of Nebraska, the group said.

"It's not as simple as a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict", said Brian Jorde, an attorney for Nebraska landowners who are fighting the project. He urged the commission to reject the project, contending TransCanada's lawyers hadn't met their burden of proof.

No matter what the commission decides, any group that presented arguments at an August hearing could appeal the decision to a state district court.

The Sierra Club also greeted the commission's decision as a partial victory.

"The evidence overwhelmingly shows Keystone XL would have positive economic and social impacts in this state", TransCanada's lawyers said in a post-hearing brief. Two federal permits, one from the Bureau of Land Management for rights of way across public lands in Montana, and another from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project's water crossings, remain outstanding (Energywire, Nov. 20).