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Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Another Lease on Life

Donald Trump signing orders to green-light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines on 24 January 2017 (@ 2017 Office of the President of the United States)

President Trump announced this past Friday that a construction permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has been granted by the State Department.

After 10 years of desultory stop and go, the $8 billion project has taken a big step forward. Keystone would span 1,200 miles, connecting Alberta’s massive tar sands crude with pipelines and refineries on the Texas gulf coast that are particularly well-suited to handling the thick oil.

Russ Girling, TransCanada President and Chief Executive Officer and principal project champion, said “this is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project. We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.”

Despite all the fanfare, Keystone still has a long way to do, as ranchers in Nebraska seem dead set against the pipeline traversing their property. As a result TransCanada will have to get through the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) to obtain a PSC permit in cases where it resorts to eminent domain - no sure thing.

TransCanada has said that it has agreements covering 90 percent of the route in each of the three states the pipeline will cross.

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