With encouragement from the new administration in Washington, DC, TransCanada Corp. on Thursday revived its Keystone XL cross-border oil pipeline project with an application to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval of a route through the state and the most pivotal part of the $8 billion project.
Company officials stressed that the proposed route has already been evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by the governor in 2013, noting that the preferred route avoids the state's Sandhills area and "is expected to have minimal environmental impacts."
Nebraska's previous review included consultation with landowners along the pipeline corridor where more than 90% have signed voluntary easements to allow Keystone XL construction, the company said.
"The PSC process is the clearest path to achieving route certainty for the project in Nebraska and is expected to conclude this year," a TransCanada spokesperson said.
As it has through eight years of permitting processes that were stymied by the Obama administration, TransCanada is committing to work with all stakeholders as the project moves forward, emphasizing that the massive project for moving Alberta oilsands crude supplies to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast will create jobs and benefits for the U.S. economy.
The economic benefits are promoted as being particularly good for the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska along the pipeline route to the oil hub in Cushing, OK. Once operating, the oil line will provide millions of dollars annually in local tax revenues, according to TransCanada estimates.
CEO Russ Girling said the revised application has been "shaped by direct, on-the-ground input from Nebraskans, and the thousands of Nebraskans we have met over the last eight years understand the value of this project and what it means to the state." Girling pledged to make safety and environmental concerns the project's top priority.
The Trump administration has welcomed the project after it was discarded by both the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was the Democratic party’s presidential candidate last year.