After nine years in the making, TransCanada’s $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline has been given the green light by the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
However, the five-member commission rejected TransCanada’s preferred route, voting to approve an alternative path that would move the pipeline, which is needed to carry thick crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries on Texas’ gulf coast, further east.
The alternative route of the new pipeline, which will transport 830,000 barrels of crude a day, is designed to avoid of Nebraska’s delicate Sandhills region.
However, the approved route will still cross shallow parts of the Olgalala aquifer, the main source of drinking and irrigation water in Nebraska and much of the Great Plains.
Approval for Keystone XL was a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and the leader is likely to latch on to the pipeline’s approval and claim it as a key political victory.
The decision comes just four days after a rupture in the existing Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil in rural South Dakota.