November 1, 2018 Read More →

Keystone XL pipeline fight heads to Nebraska Supreme Court

Omaha World-Herald:

Attorneys for opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline and TransCanada will square off Thursday morning before the Nebraska Supreme Court in a lawsuit that could erect a new roadblock to construction of the $8 billion project.

Landowners who oppose the pipeline, as well as environmental groups and Indian tribes, are seeking to nullify the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s 3-2 approval a year ago of a pipeline route across Nebraska.

The lawsuit claims, among other things, that TransCanada didn’t formally seek approval of the “mainline alternative” route that was approved, and didn’t prove that the pipeline is in the public interest of the state. The lawsuit maintains that the company should reapply for a pipeline route, which would delay the much-delayed project for several more months.

Attorneys for the Canadian pipeline developer have argued that even though the PSC didn’t OK the “preferred route” suggested by the corporation, it followed all state laws in approving the alternative. That route, TransCanada attorneys have said, is a superior route because it affects fewer water wells and passes through 84.6 fewer miles of the migratory path of the endangered whooping crane.

It could take the State Supreme Court several weeks to rule after hearing oral arguments.

Nebraska has become ground zero in the national environmental debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. The 36-inch pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of thick tar sands crude oil from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast that are specially set up to refine such oil. TransCanada officials have said they have sufficient commitments from shippers to use the Keystone XL, but the company has not yet made the final financial commitment to build it.

More: Challenge to Keystone XL pipeline route goes before the Nebraska Supreme Court

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