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Nebraska’s approval of new route for Keystone XL could be oil pipeline’s death blow


Nebraska regulators set out this week to finally approve the ... new route and said that dozens of landowners along the approved path have no idea that their homes and property could be in the way of the project. Environmental groups, which expected ...


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Owner less likely to complete project if more environmental reviews neededSearchSearch Keyword: Criteo.DisplayAcceptableAdIfAdblocked( {'zoneid' : 355041, 'containerid' : 'crt-355041', 'overrideZoneFloor' : false }); Latest Videosvar _informq = _informq || []; _informq.push(['embed']);RecommendedNebraska’s approval of new route for Keystone XL could be oil pipeline’s death blowQuiz: How well do you know your guns?Putin’s plan to end Syrian war strengthens Russian influence in Middle EastTop 10 U.Sfighter jetsHow To: Fix Your Fatigue And Get More EnergyCommentarySuzanne Fields‘Gathering together to ask the Lord’s blessing’Cal ThomasCan Trump-haters be thankful for him?Tammy BruceThe liberal ruse of feminismView all Google may not show you this informationType in your name.Question of the DayWill Congress pass the tax bill before Christmas?Question of the Day  Yes  No  Not sure   View resultsStory TOpicsEnvironmentPoliticsNebraska Public Service CommissionNebraska landowner Diana Steskal rests her head on her husband Byron’s shoulder as Nebraska Public Service Commissioners leave after their vote approving the TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline “mainline alternative route” on Monday(Associated PRess) more > var _informq = _informq || []; _informq.push(['hook', 'Inform-Washington-Times-Player-1/videoLoad', function(event) { }]); Print By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Nebraska regulators set out this week to finally approve the long-awaited Keystone XL oil pipelineInstead, specialists say, they may have killed it.The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 3-2 Monday to approve a route for the $8 billion Canada-to-Texas pipeline through the state, but not the route that TransCanada, the owner and operator of the project, had wanted.The new path was approved with little debate or studyThe State Department, which reviews pipelines that cross international boundaries, reportedly is examining whether it must conduct a new environmental review, a process that could take years and would come at considerable expense to American taxpayers.With TransCanada noncommittal on whether it’s even interested in using the PSC’s permit, analysts say Nebraska regulators have made it far less likely the project ever gets completed and turned what was supposed to be the final chapter in the Keystone review process into a possible death blow.“I am just bewildered by the PSC decisionI think the commission wanted to have their cake and eat it, too,” said Brigham McCown, former administrator of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.“The current route has been studied by the federal government for eight years, produced over 800,000 pages of Obama administration [review] documents I think these guys lost sight of the big picture and got caught up in minutiae and did not have the political courage to do what’s right and instead tried to split the baby,” MrMcCown said“In doing so, they’ve guaranteed another two- to three-year legal battle and probably have raised the cost of the project another $1 billion or $2 billion for no reason whatsoever.”Monday’s vote casts doubt on whether President Trump’s campaign promise — reiterated in March when he signed an executive order to revive Keystone — to see the pipeline through to completionTransCanada, MrMcCown said, could decide it’s had enough of the endless U.Sreview process and simply give up.Existing portions of Keystone carry oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Midwest, but the expansion is necessary to move even more fuel to larger refineries on the Gulf Coast.A PSC spokesperson on Tuesday said the commissioners would not grant any interviews because of the “contested” nature of the Keystone review processCommissioner Crystal Rhoades, who voted against approval of the pipeline on Monday, argued that there’s been virtually no study of the new route and said that dozens of landowners along the approved path have no idea that their homes and property could be in the way of the project.Environmental groups, which expected Monday’s vote to signal defeat in their efforts to stop Keystone, instead were given a golden opportunity to potentially kill the project once and for allGreen groups on both sides of the border say the PSC’s vote may not have even been legally binding, meaning courts once again will play a major role in determining the future of the project.“This is not the route TransCanada proposed and is not the route that has undergone a proper assessment at the U.Sstate and federal levelsIt’s not even clear that the PSC has the authority to green-light the alternate route,” said Patrick DeRochie, program manager for climate and energy at the Canadian group Environmental Defence.His comments were echoed by U.Senvironmental groups that said they now plan to redouble their legal fight against Keystone.Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson told Politico on Monday that officials are looking at whether a new review process is neededThe initial study, undertaken during the Obama presidency, took several years.In a lengthy document released after Monday’s vote, the PSC said its approved route is a better location because of its proximity to existing pipelines in NebraskaThat fact, along with environmental concerns about TransCanada’s preferred route, led the PSC to make its unexpected decision to OK a different path.“Ultimately, the preferred route fails to take advantage of any opportunity to co-locate with the existing utility corridor represented by Keystone I, and therefore we are unable to conclude that the preferred route is in the public interest,” the PSC wrote.TransCanada’s reaction has been mutedThe company said nothing Tuesday, and on Monday issued a brief press release saying it would review the PSC permit.“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,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO.MrMcCown said he expects the company to appeal the PSC decisionNebraska regulators “have turned this very simple pipeline project into a circus,” he said. 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