TransCanada changed course, decided against pressing the case for a new law in court, and has filed an application for the Keystone XL pipeline with the Public Service Commission.
PSC Executive Director Jeff Pursley says the agency review will be narrowly focused.
“We are not able to look at things like safety of the pipeline,” Pursley tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “We are limited to that they have demonstrated compliance with state statutes; look at the evidence, the impact on natural resources.”
Pursley says a number of studies will be conducted on the proposed route, including an environmental impact study, soil permeability, distance from groundwater, and potential impact on wildlife and plants.
“Evidence to minimize or mitigate these potential impacts; evidence of economic and social impact, including taxes paid by the carrier to local and state government, whether another corridor exists that could be used for the route,” according to Pursley.
Though Keystone XL has stirred great controversy both in Nebraska and nationally, Pursely pledges to handle the TransCanada application like it does all the others, though he acknowledges this is new territory for the PSC.
“We have not ever processed specifically a pipeline application,” Pursely says.
He says interested parties have thirty days to file comments, and will be able to appear later in person before the commission. Pursley says the schedule has not yet been set, but state law requires them to make a decision within seven months.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this report.