Five independent reviews say pipeline could be constructed and operated safely
Calgary-based TransCanada (ticker: TRP) announced today that it will file an application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) to seek approval for the Keystone XL route through the state. TransCanada is also in the process of withdrawing its current eminent domain actions and is taking steps to terminate constitutional court proceedings in Holt County, Nebraska.
“After careful review, we believe that going through the PSC process is the clearest path to achieving route certainty for the Keystone XL Project in Nebraska,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “It ultimately saves time, reduces conflict with those who oppose the project and sets clear rules for approval of the route.”
The proposed route is the route that was evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by the Nebraska Governor in 2013. The route is preferred by a majority of Nebraskans, and landowners along the pipeline corridor, 91% of which have now signed voluntary easements to construct Keystone XL, TransCanada said in a press release.
On January 9, the Nebraska Supreme Court held a vote that allowed Keystone’s old path through the state. While four justices of the seven-member court agreed that Nebraska landowners who sued the state had legal standing to bring their case to court, a super-majority of five justices or more was required to overturn the governor’s decision to allow the pipeline.
The project has undergone five independent reviews of safety and potential environmental impacts by the U.S. State Department as well as one authored by the State of Nebraska after its year-long public review process. All reviews concluded the project could be constructed and operated safely with minimal impact to the environment.
Despite having route authority to construct Keystone XL, uncertainty in the courts around the constitutionality of how the route was approved was very likely to carry on once again to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
“Our goal is to achieve route certainty in Nebraska in a timely manner,” said Girling. “We have concluded that seeking route approval from the PSC gives us the best opportunity to build a pipeline the majority of Americans and Nebraskans support.”