UPDATE 1-TransCanada changes tack in seeking Nebraska Keystone approval

Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:07pm EDT
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(Adds TransCanada and analyst quotes, background)

By Nia Williams

Sept 30 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp said on Wednesday it will seek approval from the Nebraska Public Service Commission to build its long-delayed and controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline route through the state.

The company is also withdrawing eminent domain actions, which would force some reluctant Nebraska landowners to let TransCanada lay the pipeline across their land in exchange for payment, and terminating constitutional court proceedings relating to those actions.

TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said applying through the Nebraska Public Service Commission would likely be quicker than going through the courts.

"This process will likely be seven to 12 months for a decision, as opposed to one where we do not have an estimated timeline," Cooper said.

"Despite having route authority to construct Keystone XL, uncertainty in the courts around the constitutionality of how the route was approved was very likely to carry on once again to the Nebraska Supreme Court."

Opposition in Nebraska has been one of several major hurdles facing the Keystone XL project, which has been waiting more than six years for U.S. presidential approval.

The 830,000 barrel per day pipeline will help carry crude from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast and has run into fierce resistance from landowners and environmental groups opposed to oil sands development.   Continued...