LINCOLN, Neb. – A decision on the last major regulatory hurdle for TransCanada (TSX:TRP) in its nine-year quest to complete the Keystone XL pipeline will be made next week.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission says in statement that a vote on the application will be held during its meeting on Nov. 20.
Approving the project would allow TransCanada to gain access to holdout landowners’ property using Nebraska’s eminent domain laws.
The pipeline would transport oilsands oil from Alberta through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines that feed Texas Gulf Coast refineries.
Opponents say the pipeline would pass through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don’t want it.
South Dakota and Montana regulators have already approved the project.
Environmental groups had persuaded former U.S. president Barack Obama to deny federal approval in November 2015. But President Donald Trump resuscitated the project in March, declaring that Calgary-based TransCanada would create “an incredible pipeline.”
The Nebraska commission had been required to make a decision by Nov. 23, and must decide whether the project serves the public’s interests, based on evidence presented by lawyers and through public hearings earlier this year.
The elected commission is comprised of four Republicans and one Democrat.
Company officials have said their preferred route is the most direct way to transport oil and that rerouting the pipeline would add millions of dollars to the project’s $8-billion price tag.