Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval

Oil prices hit 2½-year high on Keystone pipeline shutdown

After nine years, two presidential orders and dozens of lawsuits, the pipeline is being built.

Nebraska regulators said use of the alternative route would limit the impact of the pipeline on numerous threatened and endangered species, including the endangered whooping crane habitat.

The possibility of a breach has come up after the 5,000-barrel leak from TransCanada's existing pipeline, Keystone.

The impact of the additional five miles in the alternative route is unclear, but fund managers say it should be manageable and are broadly positive about the company's ability to finance the project, even if it has to raise funds through equity issuance.

"Our environmental laws should never be undercut by the interests of a private foreign company, and the court's decision today solidifies that", Hannah Adams, deputy director of the activist group and co-plaintiff Bold Alliance, said in a statement. The so-called Mainline Alternative Route draws the XL closer to the alignment of the Keystone pipeline, its 7-year-old sister, which transports more than 500,000 barrels of Alberta tar sands oil daily to refinery hubs in Oklahoma and IL.

While TransCanada has promoted the pipeline project as a jobs creator, Rhoades said that "there was no evidence provided that any jobs created by the construction of this project would be given to Nebraska residents".

Commissioners could tweak TransCanada's proposed route, or pick one of the company's "alternative" routes.

The impetus for the controversial pipeline has been to provide transportation for the thick bitumen produced in Alberta to the gulf coast. The case would likely end up before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Since rail is a more expensive form of transport, heavy Canadian crude prices will need to trade at a bigger discount to West Texas Intermediate futures.

But critics said that the property where the pipeline would cross would lose value. The project had the support of the state's governor, Republican Pete Ricketts, its chamber of commerce, trade unions and the petroleum industry. President Donald Trump revived it in March, approving a permit. It's the last major regulatory hurdle facing project operator TransCanada Corp.

Earlier this week, Nebraska's Public Service Commission sided against the preferred route for the Keystone XL through the state and instead voted for an alternative route that allayed ecological concerns.

The Keystone pipeline transports crude oil from Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and IL, and passes through North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. Approval was quickly granted. He also championed completion of the Energy Transfer Partners LP-led Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs from northwestern North Dakota to IL via South Dakota and Iowa. Its power over the project is drawn from the state's constitution.

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