22:59 GMT +318 August 2019
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    Keystone XL oil pipeline

    Nebraska Approves TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Construction

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    The panel in the US state of Nebraska has removed the last legislative obstacle to the construction of the controversial pipeline project in the territory of the state.

    The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Monday to construct the $8 billion pipeline that would link US oil refineries with oil sands in Canada's Alberta. The route of the 1,179-mile pipeline that will run through the state has been altered over environmental concerns.

    "After careful evaluation and considerate of all the evidence adduced, and the careful weighing of all the issues, factors, and aspects of the proposed routes of the Keystone XL Pipeline, we find that the Alternative Mainline Route is in the public interest and shall be approved," Commission Chairman Tim Schram announced.

    The decision comes after the existing Keystone pipeline leaked at least 210,000 gallons of oil into agricultural fields in the US state of South Dakota before crews managed to shut it down. The panel was supposed to consider the incident while making a decision but was forbidden by law to do so.

    TransCanada Corp's plans to build a pipeline has faced opposition from environmental groups, indigenous people, and some landowners. Yankton Sioux Tribe Business and Claims Committee member Jason Cooke stated in the document that the pipeline will cause irreparable damage to cultural resources of his tribe.

    In a separate case, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Shannon Wright said the construction of the pipeline would damage sacred tribal grounds and parts of the Ponca Removal Trail.

    READ MORE: Tillerson Recuses Himself From Keystone Pipeline Issues

    In March, the US State Department gave a green light to the construction of the pipeline immediately after President Donald Trump approved the pipeline deal. Trump had been a vocal supporter of the project and signed the order to accelerate its completion after taking office in January. Former President Barack Obama had previously blocked the project.

    Keystone XL, oil, pipeline, United States, Nebraska
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