The Trump administration’s efforts to get the controversial Keystone XL pipeline going lead to nowhere as state lawmakers and experts are opposing the project in Nebraska, where an important portion of the pipeline is expected to be built.
The owner of the pipeline, TransCanada, told President Trump Tuesday that it still needs approval from Nebraska regulators. The Public Service Commission is currently hearing experts on both sides of the debate in a state where the $8 billion project was met with a wall of opposition.
During the hearings, TransCanada experts will be followed by experts that oppose the project. The latter group will warn of the environmental risks and lack of reasons to force landowners to give up their properties.
TransCanada has also troubles with oil producers as it needs to find companies that can fill the pipeline that will ferry 830,000 barrels per day from Canada to southern Nebraska.
As the project stalled in recent years, many tar sand oil producers used other pipelines or rail cars. Plus, lower oil prices forced many companies to postpone investment plans. Some companies which promised to use the Keystone XL pipeline have sold all the oil and closed business.
However, the greatest challenge for TransCanada is Nebraska, as people are concerned a leak could contaminate their agricultural lands and water supplies. Moreover, there are many family farmers that have an emotional tie to the lands they inherited and want to protect them.
Many farmers in Nebraska are angry that a foreign company wants to carry out such a massive project on their eminent domain. State regulators could take from six months to a year to green light a project that has taken eight years to complete, but they could also block it altogether.
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