Days After Oil Spill, Construction Approved for TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline

After nine years, two presidential orders and dozens of lawsuits, the pipeline is being built. Fox News reporter, Mike Tobin, has more.

NEBRASKA — The Keystone pipeline is finally approved for construction by Nebraska regulators, but it comes just days after a devastating oil spill.

After nine years, two presidential orders and dozens of lawsuits, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has finally cleared its last regulatory challenge with Public Service Commissioners in Nebraska voting to approve the pipeline’s route through their state.

Some say they are brushing off concerns about the economic impact, especially to landowners who may be forced to sell their land under eminent domain laws.

“The route violates the due process of landowners,” said Crystal Rhoades, who is with Nebraska’s Public Service Commission. “At least 40 landowners along the route may not even know their land is in the path.”

The approval comes five days after a pipe rupture on another TransCanada line caused a major leak in South Dakota, spilling more than 200,000 barrels near the town of Amherst.

People there say the company hasn’t contacted them about a clean-up plan.

TransCanada says they’re in the process of containing the spill and their immediate concern was to check for injuries among its staff and area residents.

“We’re all disappointed it happened but the good news is no one lost their lives,” said TransCanada Spokesperson, Robyn Tsyver. “The good news is nobody was hurt.”

But farmers and tribal leaders say TransCanada knew the spill was a strong possibility because, they claim, substandard materials were used on the pipeline.

“The thinner walled pipe, the higher percentage of it having an incident or it rupturing and that’s exactly what happened,” said Diane Derosiers, who is a tribal member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribe.

Today’s vote isn’t the last procedural hurdle to Keystone. Opponents say they’ll challenge the Nebraska Commission’s decision in court.

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