The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline and its allies faced a litany of tough questions Monday in front of a Nebraska commission that will decide whether to approve the project’s final leg through the state.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission hearing is the last major regulatory hurdle pipeline developer TransCanada must overcome in its nine-year quest to complete the US$8 billion pipeline.
An attorney for Nebraska landowners who oppose the Keystone XL grilled several of the project’s top managers about whether the commission should impose requirements on their application, such as maintaining several feet of topsoil over the pipe and removing it if it’s ever decommissioned.
Business groups and some unions support the Keystone XL, saying it will provide jobs and property tax revenue for local governments.
The commission will decide whether to grant Calgary-based TransCanada’s application for route approval for the pipeline through Nebraska, allowing the company to gain access to holdout landowners’ property through eminent domain laws.
The hearing at a Lincoln hotel could run as long as five days
If approved, the pipeline would transport oil from tar sand deposits of Alberta through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines that feed Texas Gulf Coast refineries.
It may also provide access for oil fields in North Dakota.
(with files from AP)