TransCanada Corp.’s growth enabler for oilsands exports to the United States, the hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline project, has been ordered to submit route changes across Nebraska to an additional environmental impact statement (EIS) by the U.S. State Department.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris upheld President Trump’s 2017 construction approval but directed the State Department to review changes that followed the reversal of the previous Obama administration’s 2015 rejection of the project.
The judge observed the altered route crosses different counties and water bodies, and requires more hardware than the first version of Keystone XL covered by a 2014 State Department assessment that concluded the project was environmentally acceptable.
TransCanada indicated it would study the verdict and any implications for the overall project.
The State Department was ordered to provide a schedule for a supplemental EIS before the planned 2Q2019 start of Keystone XL construction.
Environmental opponents applauded the verdict for partially siding with a lineup of plaintiffs in the case, led by Indigenous Environment Network, North Coast River Alliance and Northern Plains Resource Council.
Keystone XL has aroused a decade of protests as an 890,000 b/d addition to export capacity for the northern Alberta oilsands, where thermal production is Canada’s biggest and fastest-growing natural gas user and carbon emitter.