TransCanada has announced that the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved an alternative route for the firm’s Keystone XL project - a ruling that has been considered key to moving forward with the completion of the pipeline after several years of limbo.
The vote resulted in a 3-2 sway from Nebraska’s PSC in favour of a route 30km east of TransCanada’s preferred route.
"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 CEO.
As a result of its relocation, the new route opens up the pipeline to a new wave of legal and regulatory obstacles, something that is likely to be heightened by the significant opposition that defiantly stands against the construction of the pipeline.
“We are going to fight like hell to make sure this pipeline never gets built,” said Jane Kleeb, the Head of the anti-pipeline political advocacy group, Bold Nebraska.
The approved route will add a further five miles of pipeline, an additional pumping station and related transmission lines – all things that could require additional permits with it being outside the original one.
Despite the news, TransCanada said that it will continue to advance its $25bn near term capital program outside of its involvement in Keystone XL, in addition to exploring other longer term opportunities.