Nebraska to decide fate of controversial Keystone XL pipeline




  • In US
  • 2017-11-20 11:08:31Z
  • By By Kevin O'Hanlon and Valerie Volcovici

By Kevin O'Hanlon and Valerie Volcovici

LINCOLN, Nebraska/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nebraska regulators will announce their decision on Monday on whether to approve TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline route through the state, the last big hurdle for the long-delayed project.

Just days ago, TransCanada's existing Keystone system spilled 5,000 barrels in South Dakota and pipeline opponents said the spill highlighted the risks posed by the proposed XL expansion.

The stakes are big. President Donald Trump, a Republican, has made Keystone XL's success a plank in his effort to boost the U.S. energy industry. Environmentalists have made the project a symbol of their broader fight against fossil fuels and global warming.

The proposed 1,179-mile (1,897-km) pipeline linking Canada's oil sands to U.S. refineries has been a lightning rod of controversy since it was proposed nearly a decade ago. The administration of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, considered the line for years before rejecting it in 2015 on environmental grounds.

Trump swiftly reversed that decision, handing TransCanada a federal permit for the pipeline in March and arguing the project will lower fuel prices, boost national security, and bring jobs.

The decision placed the pipeline's fate into the hands of an obscure regulatory body in Nebraska, the only state that had yet to approve the pipeline's route. Nebraska's Public Service Commission is charged with assessing whether the route is in the state's best interests, but cannot consider the risk of spills since the project already has an environmental permit.

UNCERTAIN MARKET

Opposition to the line in Nebraska has been driven mainly by a group of around 90 landowners whose farms lie along the proposed route. They have said they are worried spills could pollute water critical for grazing cattle, and that tax revenue will be short-lived and jobs will be temporary.

"The spill (in South Dakota) only confirms all our fears," said Jeanne Crummly, a rancher in Page, Nebraska.

TransCanada and its supporters have responded by saying the project would bring economic benefits, and could be operated safely. The company said last week's spill near Amherst, South Dakota, was contained and being cleaned up.

Nationwide, Trump has said Keystone XL would create 28,000 jobs. But a 2014 State Department study predicted just 3,900 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs.

The project could be a boon for Canada, which has struggled to bring its vast oil reserves to market. But there are questions about demand for the pipeline after a surge in drilling activity in the United States.

"Considering the growth of oil output in the U.S. ... the economics of importing the heavy crude from Canada is not fully justified," said Chirag Rathi, director at business consultancy Frost & Sullivan in Texas.

TransCanada has said it has received adequate support to make the pipeline viable. But it has yet to announce results of its open season to gauge interest among shippers, which closed at the end of October.

(Additional reporting by Nia Williams and Ethan Lou in Calgary; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Grant McCool)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump: No statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office
Trump: No statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself an "absolute no" on statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan's mayor remain in office, the latest broadside in his feud with members of the U.S. territory's leadership.

Iran warns U.S. and Israel of revenge after parade attack
Iran warns U.S. and Israel of revenge after parade attack
  • World
  • 2018-09-24 17:58:02Z

The deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards also accused the United States and Israel of involvement in the attack and he said they should expect a devastating response from Tehran. In the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, thousands packed the streets to mourn the victims of Saturday's assault, many chanting "Death to Israel and America". Twelve members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were among the 25 dead.

The Latest: McCabe says Russia probe could be
The Latest: McCabe says Russia probe could be 'at risk'

NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (all times local):

New accusation rocks Kavanaugh nomination; Trump stands firm
New accusation rocks Kavanaugh nomination; Trump stands firm

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump staunchly defended his embattled Supreme Court nominee against a new allegation of sexual misconduct Monday, calling the accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh "totally political."

Trump
Trump's Supreme Court pick faces new sexual misconduct claim
  • World
  • 2018-09-24 05:51:51Z

Donald Trump's embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was hit by a second accusation of sexual misconduct Sunday, leaving Republicans scrambling to save a confirmation that until recently had seemed all but certain. The latest claims of impropriety during Kavanaugh's youth came as he

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.