(Adds background on project, details on Nebraska commission’s role)
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The Nebraska Public Service Commission announced Monday it will issue its decision on whether to approve the permit to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 20, the last regulatory hurdle for the controversial project.
On that day, the five-member PSC will take a vote on the decision in Lincoln, Nebraska, which will be open to the public.
The decision will mark the final hurdle for the long-delayed project after President Donald Trump gave it federal approval in March.
The proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km) pipeline linking Canada’s Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries has been a lightning rod of controversy for nearly a decade, pitting environmentalists worried about spills and global warming against business advocates who say the project will lower fuel prices, shore up national security and bring jobs.
The commission is charged with weighing whether the project is in the public interest of Nebraskans, and will mainly consider aspects like jobs, revenue, and other issues impacting the local economy.
It is not permitted to consider issues that fall outside that remit, however. It is also barred from considering any environmental issues because the pipeline route already has an environmental permit.
The Nebraska PSC held a week of court-like hearings in August to hear arguments on whether to approve the project’s route. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)