By Barry Ellsworth
TransCanada Corp. has submitted an application to resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. state of Nebraska using the same route rejected by the Obama administration, Canadian media reported Thursday.
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.
TransCanada’s chief executive officer noted the previous approval by the state when discussing the new application for the pipeline.
“This application has been shaped by direct, on-the ground input by Nebraskans,” Russ Girling said, as reported by the Canadian Press wire service.
It must now be reviewed and endorsed by the Nebraska Public Service Commission as part of the approval process.
“The process is the clearest path to achieving route certainty for the project in Nebraska and is expected to conclude in 2017,” Girling said.
When U.S. President Donald Trump took office last month, he said TransCanada was welcome to resubmit an application to build the pipeline.
The project, first submitted to the American government in 2008, is estimated to cost at least US$8 billion and likely more by the date of approval, will carry heavy crude oil about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) to Steele City, Nebraska from the oilsands in Alberta, Canada.
Opposition to the project has been fierce with critics charging an oil spill could occur and contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer water table, which is in the Nebraska Sandhills area. TransCanada said the pipeline would avoid the area,.
The company said there would be “minimal environmental impacts,” the FP reported. TransCanada said most residents in the area of the pipeline were not opposed.
“The review also included active consultation with landowners along the pipeline corridor where over 90 percent have signed voluntary easements to construct the Keystone XL,” the company said, according to the FP.
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 U.S., the FP reported.