Tran­sCanada re­files ap­pli­ca­tion in Ne­braska for Key­stone XL route

Medicine Hat News - - BUSINESS - IAN BICKIS

CALGARY Tran­sCanada says it’s once again seek­ing ap­proval of its Key­stone XL pipe­line route in Ne­braska de­spite stiff op­po­si­tion from some landown­ers.

The en­ergy com­pany says the ap­pli­ca­tion it has filed with the Ne­braska Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion is the clear­est path to achiev­ing route cer­tainty, adding that it ex­pects a de­ci­sion on its ap­pli­ca­tion by the end of the year.

It says the pro­posed route was ap­proved by the gov­er­nor of Ne­braska in 2013 and its ap­pli­ca­tion has been shaped by “di­rect, on-the-ground in­put from Ne­braskans.”

Ne­braska has been the site of some of the fiercest re­sis­tance to Key­stone XL due to con­cerns that a spill could con­tam­i­nate the Ogal­lala Aquifer.

“We’re an ag state not an oil state, and so we don’t think that we should be risk­ing our wa­ter sup­plies and the agri­cul­tural econ­omy so Canada can get their tarsands to the ex­port mar­ket,” said Jane Kleeb, pres­i­dent of the Bold Al­liance group that is push­ing against the project.

Tran­sCanada says the pipe­line would avoid the Ne­braska Sand­hills area of the state un­der which the aquifer sits, but Kleeb dis­agrees with how the com­pany has de­fined the area and says it still threat­ens wa­ter re­serves.

She said she’s con­fi­dent that those op­posed to the project will be suc­cess­ful through the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion process, which Tran­sCanada has re­verted to after first try­ing to use emi­nent do­main to seize land for the project.

Tran­sCanada says more than 90 per cent of landown­ers in the state have al­ready vol­un­tar­ily signed ease­ments to the project, while Kleeb says there are 82 landown­ers still strongly op­posed who have re­fused.

The com­pany also filed a pres­i­den­tial per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for the project late last month after be­ing in­vited by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has asked that the re­view process be done quickly.

In its quar­terly re­sults out Thurs­day Tran­sCanada said it ex­pects the Key­stone XL pipe­line to still have enough sup­port from oil pro­duc­ers for it to make a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion on the long-de­layed project.

The Calgary com­pany said it's up­dat­ing ship­ping con­tracts and ex­pects some ship­pers to in­crease or de­crease their vol­ume com­mit­ments on the pipe­line that is once again in play after for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­jected it in 2015.

The com­pany took a $2.89bil­lion after-tax im­pair­ment charge on the car­ry­ing value of the Key­stone XL project in 2015, lead­ing to a $1.24-bil­lion net loss for the year. That com­pared with net in­come of $124 mil­lion for 2016 after an $870-mil­lion charge re­lated to the sale of some ther­mal and wind power projects.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/DAR­RYL DYCK

Tran­sCanada says it has re­filed an ap­pli­ca­tion in Ne­braska seek­ing ap­proval for the Key­stone XL pipe­line route through the state. Tran­sCanada CEO Russ Gir­ling ar­rives to speak at the 20th An­nual Whistler In­sti­tu­tional In­vestor Con­fer­ence, in Whistler, B.C., on Jan. 25.

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