TransCanada has applied with the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
The move by TransCanada comes after President Donald Trump indicated he would reverse President Barack Obama’s rejection of a permit needed to complete the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Obama refused to grant TransCanada permission to cross the border between Canada and the United States, effectively ending plans to hook up the northern section of the oil pipeline with the completed southern section.
The PSC says Nebraska law requires the pipeline carrier has to prove the oil pipeline would serve the public interest.
The PSC says its review is limited by law to the following:
1) Whether the pipeline carrier has demonstrated compliance with all applicable state statutes, rules and regulations and local ordinances;
2) Evidence of the impact due to intrusion upon natural resources and not due to safety of the proposed route of the major oil pipeline to the natural resources of Nebraska, including:
· an environmental impact study;
· a comprehensive soil permeability study;
· a distance-to-groundwater survey;
· evidence regarding the impact of the pipeline on wildlife; and
· evidence regarding the impact of the pipeline on plants located within and surrounding
the proposed route;
3) Evidence of methods to minimize or mitigate the potential impacts of the major oil pipeline to natural resources;
4) Evidence regarding the economic and social impacts of the major oil pipeline, including
estimates regarding tax paid by the carrier to local and state government along the route of the proposed pipeline and information regarding impact on employment in Nebraska;
5) Whether any other utility corridor exists that could feasibly and beneficially be used for the route of the major oil pipeline.
6) The impact of the major oil pipeline on the orderly development of the area around the proposed route of the major oil pipeline.
7) The reports of the agencies filed pursuant to the Act; and
8) The views of the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities in the areas around the proposed route of the major oil pipeline.
The PSC has 210 days to decide on TransCanada’s application. The commission will decide later when it will take public comment on the issue.
“The Commission is committed to building a comprehensive record,” said Jeff Pursley, PSC Executive Director, in a written statement. “We will follow all aspects of the law as we fulfill the duties assigned to us by the Legislature.”
President Obama rejected Keystone XL, claiming it would have added to greenhouse emissions by carrying crude from the oil sands of western Canada. In his statement, the president said the United States is a global leader in the fight against climate change and approving the Keystone XL pipeline would have undercut that global leadership.
The main fight against Keystone XL didn’t center on the pipeline itself, but on the crude it might transport from western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The crude is being produced from oil sands, what environmentalists portray as a particularly dirty fuel.
TransCanada withdrew its application before the PSC after the president’s decision.
The $8 billion dollar pipeline would carry crude from the oil sands of western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. TransCanada needs presidential approval to build the remainder of the pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. The southern portion of the pipeline, from Oklahoma City to the Gulf Coast has been completed and is transporting crude.