Published: Wed, November 22, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Ex-TransCanada CEO takes aim at regulatory 'wrinkles' delaying pipelines

Ex-TransCanada CEO takes aim at regulatory 'wrinkles' delaying pipelines

President Donald Trump vowed to reverse that determination and, in January, invited the company to reapply. Federal approval was required because the pipeline would cross the US border from Canada to Phillips County, Montana.

While oil does not form the bulk of TransCanada's portfolio, some analysts estimate the Alberta-Nebraska Keystone XL project has the potential to contribute up to 10 per cent to the company's $55.5 billion market value.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Chairman Dave Flute says members are "highly disappointed" with Nebraska's move considering the oil spill near their reservation. Flute said Monday his tribe will stand with other tribal nations to oppose pipelines. The proposed pipeline would run from Alberta down through the USA states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska before linking to other sections of the pipeline already in operation. For nearly ten years, TransCanada has lobbied, threatened, and agitated for their Keystone pipeline system, and have built about two-thirds of it - the first stage of this system spilled at least 5,000 barrels in South Dakota last week.

"All new pipelines from Alberta, including Kinder Morgan's expansion project to the B.C. coast, Enbridge's line 9 to the east, or the Keystone XL going south the US, mean more Alberta bitumen extraction, which represents one of the most polluting sources of fossil fuel production in the world", declared Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). He also championed completion of the Energy Transfer Partners LP-led Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs from northwestern North Dakota to IL via South Dakota and Iowa.

The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline says it plans to review a Nebraska regulator's decision to approve a different route through the state than what the company had preferred.

"As a result of today's decision, 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", Girling said in a statement. He offered no further comment. They said it opened new avenues for regulatory and legal challenges, pointing out that the approved route had been through much less regulatory scrutiny than the preferred route, which had been the focus of most of the attention. It will also require TransCanada to win over a host of new landowners along the alternative route. This route was one of three proposed routes through Nebraska included in TransCanada's permit application.

No matter what the commission decides, any group that presented arguments at an August hearing could appeal the decision to a state district court.

Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO, said the company was evaluating the PSC's decision on the 830,000-barrel-per-day pipeline that will carry oil sands crude from terminals in Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it can then reach refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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Ex-TransCanada CEO takes aim at regulatory 'wrinkles' delaying pipelines

Jane Kleeb, heads the pipeline opposition group Bold Alliance.

The federal government has a say in whether the pipeline is built because it crosses an global border from Canada.

Although TransCanada proposed the mainline alternative to show state regulators an option that would take advantage of existing Keystone infrastructure, it later concluded that simply laying Keystone XL along Keystone's original path was not possible.

The project has faced a barrage of criticism from environmental activists and some landowners for almost a decade.

Business groups and some unions support the project as a way to create jobs.

President Barack Obama's administration rejected TransCanada's bid for permission to build across the USA border in 2015.

"While today's Keystone XL pipeline approval is an important milestone, it does not provide certainty that the project will ultimately be built and begin operating", said Gavin MacFarlane, a vice president at Moody's Investors Service.

The decision Monday could have a big impact on whether TransCanada Corp. decides to proceed with construction of the project, which was first proposed in 2008 but repeatedly delayed.

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