Nebraska Finally Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

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The $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline owned by TransCanada secured the approval from the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Monday, finishing the final regulatory hurdle in a 9-year strive to construct a line required the convey thick crude oil from the tar sands region in Alberta to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.

But the 5-member commission unaccepted TransCanada’s proposed route and went ahead to approve an alternative route that’d move the pipeline eastward. The new pipeline would convey 830,000 barrels per day of crude.

The 3-2 decision comes just 4 days after a burst in the old Keystone pipeline also possessed by TransCanada leaked an approximated 5,000 barrels of crude oil in a remote part of northeast of South Dakota. This spill, which the recent in a series of leaks on the old pipeline, called for more attention about other probable spills, economic impact, and climate change.

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The independent commission were in pressure from the Nebraska state legislature and labor unions to accept the pipeline while environmental associations and prairie populists have determined to take it to the courts and accompany that with civil disobedience.

The commission includes Frank Landis, a lawyer initially elected in 1988; recntly elected Mary Ridder, a cattle rancher from the state’s ecologically sensitive Sandhills region; Rod Johnson, an ex Republican state legislator; Tim Schram, an ex county commissioner; and Chrystal Rhoades, who has worked with many community organizations.

In her argument, Rhoades said she didn’t support the pipeline regardless of the route. She stated that the pipeline wasn’t in the state’s public interest, that jobs wouldn’t go to Nebraskans, that it would cause “significant loads” on owners of land whose usage of the pipeline passage would be restricted, and that she was still concerned about the environmental impact.

“All artificial infrastructure loses value and fails with time,” she wrote. “No infrastructure ever erected has lasted eternally and there is no cause to feel this pipeline will be diferent.” Rhoades accepted that the commission was not meant to weigh the danger of spills, however she stated the state’s Department of Environmental Quality had added it in the record.

While TransCanada has lifted the pipeline project as an employment opportunity, Rhoades said that “there was no proof that any employment opportuinity by the construction of this project would favour Nebraska people.”

She also mentioned that TransCanada had didn’t to meet with Nebraska’s Native American tribes. She put into account that the company stated it had met with the Southern Ponca Tribe, however Rhoades said that lives in Oklahoma. “This is equal to asking a distant relative for permission to do a main construction at the back of your yard,” she wrote.

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