The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted Monday in favor of conditionally approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state on a vote of 3-2.
The primary condition of the ruling was that the original route proposed by TransCanada, often called the “preferred” route, be abandoned for the company’s alternative route proposal. The original route would have passed through the Sandhills; the mainline alternative route approved by the commission avoids the Sandhills but still crosses the Ogallala aquifer, the state’s primary source of groundwater.
The PSC meeting room and an overflow room quickly filled before the 10 a.m. meeting, and the hallway outside the overflow room was filled with people, many of whom were using their phones to listen to the Nebraska PSC’s live-stream.
The meeting was brief and didn’t allow for public comment. The lengthiest part of the meeting was Commissioner Crystal Rhoades detailing why she planned to vote “no.”
One of the critiques Rhoades leveled against the alternative route proposal was that many landowners were not adequately briefed by representatives of the Canadian corporation building the pipeline on changes to the proposal.
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