TransCanada reapplies for Keystone permit

The proposed route for the pipeline will cross Nebraska. The proposed route for the pipeline will cross Nebraska. Nati Harnik/AP

TransCanada announced on Friday that it has submitted a new application for a permit for the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian tar-sands oil from Alberta to Steele City, Neb., reigniting the divisive political debate over the project.

"Our application for a Presidential Permit builds on more than three years of environmental review already conducted for Keystone XL," TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement, noting that 10,000 pages of review documents have already been completed for the project. "It was the most comprehensive process ever for a cross-border pipeline and that work should allow our cross-border permit to be processed expeditiously and a decision made once a new route in Nebraska is determined."

The Obama administration earlier this year denied a permit for TransCanada to build the full pipeline running from Canada down to the Gulf Coast, but President Obama did give the nod to the southern portion of the project, which will run from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas, to help ease a bottleneck in the nation's pipeline system.

Since then, TransCanada has unveiled a new route for the northern portion of the pipeline that would go around the sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. Obama had delayed the project last fall because of environmental concerns about the route through Nebraska. The Nebraska Legislature and the state’s Republican governor, Dave Heineman, have signed off on legislation that will allow the company to work with Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality in finalizing this new route.

TransCanada said on Friday that it still plans to begin construction of the pipeline in the first quarter of 2013, noting the “firm, long-term” contracts the company has in place to carry more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day in the pipeline. TransCanada expects to begin construction of the $2.3 billion southern portion of the project this summer and complete it by mid to late 2013, with the full project’s completion slated for late 2014 or early 2015. The completed pipeline is meant to bring Canadian tar-sands oil as well as Bakken crude oil from Montana and North Dakota down to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast.

For its part, the State Department, which is tasked with evaluating the project because it crosses an international border, said that it has received TransCanada’s permit application and “will consider this new application on its merits.”

As it has in the past, the State Department said that it will be hiring a third-party contractor to assist the department in reviewing the existing Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline project as well as any new analysis. In addition, State said that it plans to cooperate with the state of Nebraska and other local agencies in its process evaluating whether the pipeline is in the national interest. Nebraska’s own state review of the new route is expected to take six to nine months, according to the State Department.

State said that it will conduct its new review as efficiently as possible, using the existing analysis available from the company’s previous application and corresponding environmental review.

When it becomes available, the new application can be found on State’s Keystone XL project website:

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.