By November 21, 2017 Read More →

Environmental and pro-pipeline groups, politicians all claim victory in Keystone XL decision

Keystone XL

Keystone XL pipeline construction Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker.

Environmentalists vow to keep fighting until pipeline dead, even solar panel installation along Keystone XL route

Monday’s decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a Keystone XL route has project opponents and proponents claiming victory, while the company is adopting a cautious tone.

The Nebraska PSC threw TransCanada a curve, voting against the proposed route for the Keystone XL Pipeline , but approving an alternate route through six counties where the Calgary-based company has not negotiated easement agreements with landowners.

TransCanada says they will review and evaluate the alternative route before making a decision, and will continue to advance a $24 billion near-term capital program in addition to other longer-term opportunities, according to a press release.

“As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer.

Environmental groups are heralding the decision as a win and still  hope the 830,000 pipeline from Alberta to Steelhead, Nebraska will be cancelled altogether.


According to a Sierra Club post, “We got one step closer to stopping Keystone XL for good today,” said Janet Kleb of Bold Nebraska, a political advocacy network that has organized opposition to the project. “TransCanada did not get their preferred route, and anything other than them getting their preferred route is a big victory for us.”

Attorneys for ranchers opposed to Keystone XL believe TransCanada would have to submit a new application to proceed with the mainline alternative route and start the process over again, which could make the project not worth the delay and extra cost, according to the Sierra Club post.

In a blog post from Council of Canadians, they maintain that the fight against Keystone XL is still on:

This is not the end of the fight against Keystone XL. As Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network stated on facebook, “It’s important to remember that even if they approve any of the routes, the fight is not over: there will be an appeal and there is good legal basis for appeal, especially if PSC does not consider existing corridors. In addition we do not know if TC will be willing to build anything other than the preferred route.

But politicians and industry association groups are also claiming victory.

“This is another step in our broader effort to bring more Alberta oil to the world, diversify our markets and maximize the value we as Albertans get. Today, U.S. decision makers carefully considered a pipeline and granted an approval,” said Rachel Notley, Alberta’s premier.

She also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the Canadian government for its recent changes at the NEB, which many energy experts think sunk the Energy East pipeline, a project she strongly supported.

“We continue to urge Canadian decision makers to follow this example so we can have access to global markets from Canadian ports, supporting good Canadian jobs. While we are very pleased with Nebraska’s approval, it underscores that Canadian regulators need to keep pace if we are going to build a truly diversified set of markets.”


Canada’s Energy Minister Jim Carr was also quick to praise the Nebraska PSC decision.

“Nebraska’s decision today to approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline will result in good, middle-class jobs for workers on both sides of the Canada–U.S. border,” he said in a statement.

“Our government’s support of this important project, along with our approval of the Line 3 replacement and the increased capacity on the Alberta Clipper Project (Enbridge’s Line 67), is creating almost 10,000 well-paying, middle-class jobs and will further strengthen the cross-border energy relationship. Combined with the thousands of jobs created during the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, these energy projects will bring significant economic benefits to Canada for years to come.”

Pro-pipeline associations such as the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association also heralded the decision as a victory.

“The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association is pleased with the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a long-awaited step forward for this critical project, which will offer significant economic benefits for Canada,” CEPA said in a statement.

“The Keystone XL project has been subject to a lengthy and detailed review and environmental assessment process. It will be built and operated to the highest safety standards with world-class regulatory oversight throughout the entire lifecycle of the pipeline.”


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