On Monday, Nebraska officials will announce their decision regarding the TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline route through the state, the final barrier for the project.
President Donald Trump has made Keystone XL’s success a part of his effort in advancing the U.S. energy industry. Environmentalists use the project as an example to fight the usage of fossil fuels and global warming and recently, TransCanada’s current Keystone system spilled 5,000 barrels in the state of South Dakota.
The 1,179-mile pipeline would link Canada’s oil sands to U.S. refineries has been has been a topic of disagreement since it was proposed nearly 10 years ago. Former President Barack Obama considered the project for years before ultimately rejecting it on environmental terms. Trump quickly overturned that decision and states the project will decrease fuel prices and boost the economy.
Nebraska is the only state that has not yet approved the pipeline’s route. Nebraska’s Public Service Commission is responsible for evaluating if the pipeline is in the state’s best interests, but is unable to consider possible spills as the project already has an environmental permit.
The opposition mainly comes from a group of landowners whose farms are on the proposed pipeline route. “The spill (in South Dakota) only confirms all our fears,” said Jeanne Crummly, a Nebraska rancher.
Although the project may be great for Canada, some are questioning the demand for the pipeline after an increase in U.S. drilling activity. “Considering the growth of oil output in the U.S. … the economics of importing the heavy crude from Canada is not fully justified,” said Chirag Rathi, a consultant.
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TransCanada has stated that it has gained enough support to make the pipeline sustainable. But, TransCanada has not announced the results of its open season, that closed in October, to assess the interest amongst shippers.