Five months after being approved by the U.S. government, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline will once again be the focus of discussions this week at the project’s public hearings in Lincoln, Nebraska.?
Montana and South Dakota have already approved the route, which means that the future of the project rests with Nebraska. The state’s Public Service Commission has until the fall to decide whether Keystone XL is in the interest of the Nebraska public.
If Nebraska approves the pipeline, TransCanada will have the permits to proceed. It will be able to construct a 1,900-kilometre underground pipe to transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to American refineries near Houston, Texas.
In an e-mail exchange with CBC News, TransCanada indicated that it had reached an agreement with the vast majority of landowners along the Nebraska route, with more than 90 per cent signing land acquisition agreements.
Detractors and proponents alike will benefit from public hearings this week where they can make their voices heard.
Over the past year, two oil pipeline projects have been approved in Canada: the replacement of Enbridge Line 3 and the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan in British Columbia. In this context, some question whether Alberta oil producers need more pipelines.
Doucet says he believes that with the increase in Alberta’s oil production, the industry “needs 700,000, 800,000 or perhaps even one million barrels per day of additional capacity for transportation.”
The public hearings of Keystone XL will be held until Friday before the Public Service Commission of Nebraska.
Five elected commissioners will hear the testimony under the chairmanship of a former Nebraska judge.
As the Trump administration gave the green light to Keystone XL in March, the Commission has until Oct. 23 to rule, more than nine years after the first submission of the project.