Keystone XL Pipeline Approved - but a Different Route
Nebraska ranchers and farmers, conservationists, environmentalists, and others have been at the middle of the fight to block TransCanada’s XL pipeline route across the Nebraska Sandhills.
The fight originally started when the Unicameral (legislature) passed a bill to permit (then) Governor Dave Heineman to approve a route. However, such approvals are constitutionally mandated to the state Public Service Commission. Thus, the approval drew a lawsuit from Bold Nebraska (the organisation Jane Kleeb ran to oppose the pipeline), which was upheld by the state supreme court. (Jane Kleeb is now the leader of the Nebraska Democratic Party.)
The state then went back to the drawing board, with the Public Service Commission. The commission approved a route for the pipeline, but did not approve the route TransCanada asked for. Since there was no public notification about the different route, the approval by the Public Service Commission will likely draw a new round of lawsuits. The vote was 3-2 to approve the route.
An article was just released by the Scottsbluff Star-Herald detailing the latest developments.
It is also possible that TransCanada could drop the project all together: They will make a decision on that next month.
The alternative route selected by the PSC runs east of TransCanada’s preferred route and makes the pipeline cross parts of seven counties not previously in the path of Keystone XL. So it would require the company to reach property easement agreements with a new group of landowners.
The different counties now in the pipeline’s path are Madison, Stanton, Platte, Colfax, Butler, Seward and Saline. In addition, the pipeline route has been changed somewhat in Antelope and Jefferson Counties.
The state’s OK does not mean the pipeline will be built. Opponents have promised to file lawsuits to challenge the project, and TransCanada has said it won’t decide until December if it has enough shippers to make the $8 billion project financially feasible.
The Star-Herald notes that many companies have pulled out of the project, noting the worldwide glut of oil. More at the article linked above.