TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline route has been approved by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission in a 3 to 2 vote.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province is very pleased with the approval.
“This is another step in our broader effort to bring more Alberta oil to the world, diversify our markets and maximize the value we as Albertans get.”
The panel’s approval was the last major regulatory hurdle, clearing the $10 billion project.
Notley continues to urge Canadian decision makers to follow suit so the province can access global markets from Canadian ports, in turn supporting good Canadian jobs.
The vote comes as TransCanada continues to clean up a 5,000-barrel oil spill from its pipeline in nearby South Dakota that opponents have pointed to as reason not to approve Keystone XL.
Opponents of the project also brought up concerns about the pipeline passing through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region in Nebraska of grass-covered sand dunes and say it would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don’t want it.
The 1,897-kilometre Keystone XL project would transport about 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, Neb.
The commission, however, was specifically prohibited from evaluating safety considerations, including risk or impact of a spill, and will instead rule on issues including regulatory compliance, economic and social impacts of the project, the potential intrusion on natural resources, and whether better routes exist.
Barack Obama rejected Keystone XL in 2015 after years of review, only for President Donald Trump to give the go-ahead to the project in March, saying the pipeline will bring jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
-With files from The Canadian Press