11:22 GMT +314 December 2017
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    A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota

    Watchdog: Keystone XL Pipeline Threatens Public Health and Environment

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    The Nebraska Public Service Commission has voted 3-2 to approve an alternative route for the 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline just days after the original Keystone pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil in the US state of South Dakota on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch has slammed in a press release the decision by the US state of Nebraska to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to pass through its territory, outlining it as a shameful disregard for public health and climate change.

    "We are angered and alarmed by today’s vote to enable this foolhardy pipeline, a monument to the disaster-prone fossil fuel systems that threaten public health, our environment, and the long-term livability of our planet," Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said in the release.

    ​Hauter has also criticized President Donald Trump's administration and state officials over the decision, noting that Canadian tar sands, where pipeline oil originates, are one of the most environmentally degrading forms of energy known to man.

    "That the Trump administration and the Nebraska Public Service Commission would choose to peddle this filthy substance is downright shameful," Hauter said.

    Meantime, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr said in a statement on Monday that the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route in the US state of Nebraska would create jobs for citizens in the United States and Canada

    "Nebraska's decision today to approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline will result in good, middle-class jobs for workers on both sides of the Canada-US border," Carr said.

    Carr noted that the Canadian government has always supported the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It would add thousands of jobs for Canadians and provide long-term economic benefits, he added.

    Earlier on in the day, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Keystone XL pipeline developer TransCanada said in a statement that company was reviewing the alternative route approved by the Nebraska Public Service Commission earlier on Monday.

    "As a result of today's decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission's ruling while assessing how long the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the projects," President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said.

    When applying to the commission for its construction permit, TransCanada said the alternative route was viable but was not its preferred pathway for the pipeline.

    Commissioner Crystal Rhoades, who voted against approving the permit, noted that the alternative route had not been thoroughly studied because TransCanada said it had discarded this option.

    In March, the US State Department issued a permit for TransCanada to construct the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline immediately after President Donald Trump approved the pipeline deal. President Barack Obama had previously blocked the project. It is the last section of the entire Keystone system to be constructed.

    Related:

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    More Than 200,000 Gallons of Oil Spills From Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota
    Native American Tribes Set to Continue Fight Against Keystone XL Pipeline
    Tags:
    climate change, oil, tar sands, construction, environment, public health, Keystone XL Pipeline, TransCanada Corporation, Nebraska Public Service Commission, Food & Water Watch, Nebraska, United States
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