LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Public Service Commission’s Keystone XL pipeline ruling leaves more questions than answers.
The PSC voted 3-2 for the ‘alternate mainline route’, a route that was not TransCanada’s first choice.
CEO of TransCanada Russ Girling says, “We will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project.”
It’s also not clear if the federal government’s backing of TransCanada’s preferred route, trumps the PSC’s re-routing, which moves the pipeline some 60 miles to the east. That route runs alongside 60 percent of the company’s existing sister pipeline.
Opponents were relieved they fought off TransCanada’s top choice, but frustrated their fight isn’t over.
“We’re 60 percent of the way home, there’s 40 percent more work left to do, but we’re further ahead than ever before,” says attorney Brian Jorde.
Pipeline fighters had hoped any new pipeline would completely ‘twin’ the already existing route so no Nebraskans would be forced to sell their land.
“Throw 40 some new landowners that have not had the chance to have their voices heard,” says landowner-opponent Art Tanderup. “And they’re shoving it down their throat as well.”
Opponents won’t say what’s next but a lengthy federal court battle is an option.
“This decision opens up a whole new bag of issues we can raise,” says Ken Winston, attorney for Bold Nebraska.
Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb—the head of the Nebraska Democratic Party—sees a possible 2018 political fight against two of three Public Service Commissioners who voted for the re-routing.