TransCanada Corp. is seeking consent from Nebraska regulators to amend its Keystone XL pipeline application in a bid to tackle concerns over the alternative route that was approved.
In a hearing with the state’s Public Service Commission on Tuesday, a lawyer for the Calgary-based company said an amended plan would address issues that weren’t in the original application and that are unique to the alternative route. He didn’t specify what kind of issues, while stressing that TransCanada “strongly believes in this project.”
The commission ruled in favor of TransCanada’s project on a three-to-two vote last month — but for a different route through the state than the company had sought. While the decision seemed to remove a key hurdle to construction of the $8 billion, 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometer) conduit, opponents have said they believe it will let them challenge the project because the new route wasn’t vetted at the same level as the original.
At Tuesday’s proceeding, a representative of environmental group Sierra Club and a lawyer for landowners argued that if the application was never denied, it cannot be amended. Opponents also noted that the separate set of landowners along the approved route haven’t had a chance to voice any concerns they may have about the project.
TransCanada and the U.S. government are facing a lawsuit challenging the decision to permit the project to cross the U.S.-Canada border. In November, a U.S. district judge rejected arguments to dismiss the lawsuit.
Even with Nebraska’s decision in hand, TransCanada still must formally decide whether to build the line, which would send crude from Hardisty, Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it will connect to pipelines leading to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.