TransCanada refiles application in Nebraska for Keystone XL pipeline route

Trans Canada Keystone Oil Pipeline

The project was given the green light by the governor of Nebraska in 2013, but was spurned by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015 because the administration felt it would add too much to greenhouse gas emissions, the Financial Post (FP) newspaper reported.

The fate of the Keystone XL oil pipeline once again rests with a Nebraska commission.

TransCanada's application was filed Thursday with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which was granted authority to review oil pipeline projects by the Nebraska Legislature. Late previous year the Canadian government approved two other major export pipelines: Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge Inc's Line 3 replacement project.

"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.

In a quarterly earnings call TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said the company was in talks with crude shippers to update contracts for volume commitments on Keystone XL. Girling pledged to make safety and environmental concerns the project's top priority.

Although Trump is more receptive to the Keystone XL, however, the president has said there may be an across-the-border tax that could affect Canadian oil exports to the US, the FP reported.

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"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 USA population does believe in the benefits of this project", Cunha says.

The PSC has 210 days to decide on TransCanada's application.

The Nebraska state approval process can take up to a year and includes public hearings, public input and other steps.

The Keystone XL pipeline is meant to ship Canadian tar sands oil from Alberta to Port Arthur and Houston on the Gulf coast of the USA state of Texas.

Opponents of the pipeline argue it still passes through the Sandhills and that state lawmakers used maps showing the unique region of prairie grass-covered sand dunes to be less extensive than it actually is.