Nebraska regulators approve Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska regulators approve Keystone XL pipeline

Monday in Nebraska, regulators are deciding whether to approve a multi-million dollar expansion for the Keystone Pipeline, called Keystone XL.

The 3-2 decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission helps clear the way for the proposed 1,179-mile (1,897-km) pipeline linking Canada's Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries, but is likely to be challenged in court by the project's opponents who say it poses an environmental risk.

That option more closely mirrors the path of the existing Keystone pipeline, cutting through Boyd, Holt, Antelope and Madison counties before running parallel with the Keystone on its way to a pumping station in Steele City, along the Kansas state line. The alternative route would run farther north than the preferred route proposed by pipeline developer TransCanada Corp., which plans to build a 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometer) pipeline from Canada across several US states.

That decision placed the pipeline's fate into the hands of the obscure regulatory body in Nebraska, the only state that had yet to approve the pipeline's route.

It wasn't immediately clear if TransCanada has been in contact with those landowners.

The project also faces intense opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes.

Opponents are expected to appeal the Nebraska decision in a state district court, and the case is likely to end up before the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Barack Obama rejected Keystone XL in 2015 after years of review, only for President Donald Trump to give the go-ahead to the project in March, saying the pipeline will bring jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

No other commissioner spoke, and no public comment was allowed.

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