TC Energy Corporation announced last week that the Nebraska Supreme Court has affirmed the November 2017 decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission that approved the Keystone XL Pipeline route through the state.
The Montana Chamber of Commerce greeted the news declaring, “This is exciting news, as the Keystone XL pipeline is critical infrastructure that will enhance the energy sector in Montana and North America.” Todd O’Hair, Montana Chamber of Commerce president /CEO, stated, “In addition to providing safe, good-paying and local jobs in Montana, it will be a great economic boost for the state. We are excited to see this project continue moving forward.”
The Keystone XL section of the pipeline, is a $8 billion project that would between Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska.
Despite having gone through three major federal environmental reviews, the project has confronted delaying legal hurdles by opponents since 2008. Three more lawsuits still stand in the way of construction.
Keystone XL has permits to construct in all three states along the route, along with a presidential permit.
“The Supreme Court decision is another important step as we advance towards building this vital energy infrastructure project,” said Russ Girling, TC Energy’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We thank the thousands of government leaders, landowners, labor unions and other community partners for their continued support through this extensive review process. It has been their unwavering support that has advanced this project to where it is today.” The pipeline would carry oil from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing pump station in Steele City, Nebraska. From there it would continue through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas until it reaches Gulf Coast refineries. Business groups and some unions support the project as a way to create jobs and reduce the risk of shipping oil by trains that can derail.
The pipeline faces intense resistance from environmental groups, Native American tribes and some landowners along the route who worry about its long-term impact on their groundwater and property rights. But in Nebraska, many affected landowners have accepted the project and are eager to collect payments from the company. The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the decision of state regulators who voted in November 2017 to greenlight a route through the state. The court sided with the Nebraska Public Service Commission saying it is the agency responsible for determining which pipeline route is in the public interest, and that it did so after months of consideration. “We find there is sufficient evidence to support the PSC’s determination that the (alternative route) is in the public interest,” Justice Jeffrey Funke wrote for the court.
An attorney for the opponents said they were weighing their legal options, including a possible federal lawsuit challenging the route the PSC approved.