TransCanada expresses optimism as it renews its application to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline through Nebraska.
TransCanada earlier dropped its efforts to receive regulatory approval in the state after President Obama denied its application to cross the U.S.-Canadian border and complete the pipeline.
TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha says the company has applied to build the pipeline along the same route evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2013.
“This is definitely building on all the work that we’ve already been doing here in Nebraska over the last few years, working as I mentioned first with the DEQ on getting some route clarity and confirmation and we of course will continue discussions with our stakeholders and landowners across the state,” Cunha tells Nebraska Radio Network.
While President Obama blocked Keystone XL, President Trump has indicated he would approve the project. In January, TransCanada filed an application for a new presidential permit with the Department of State.
Cunha says the company remains committed to the project, saying it will be safe, bring construction jobs to Nebraska, and provide revenue for the state as well as the counties it crosses.
“The importance of this project is that it will be able to, in addition to moving Canadian crude oil, will the potential to move domestic crude oil from the Bakken region into the U.S. Gulf Coast refining market as well,” according to Cunha.
Cunha says he understands the company faces vocal opponents to its plans, but insists the majority of Nebraskans favor Keystone XL.
“We feel confident that we have been engaging Nebraskans throughout this process, recognizing that at the end of the day there will be some small percentages of groups that will oppose us, but a strong majority of Nebraskans and the U.S. population does believe in the benefits of this project,” Cunha says.
Cunha defends the company against those who label it a foreign entity, stating TransCanada has been operating in Nebraska since the 1980s and that half of its employee based, roughly 4,500 employees, work across the United States on its oil pipeline and natural gas pipeline projects.
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.
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 $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.