This decision removes the last big regulatory hurdle for the KXL project, which was originally halted by President Obama, but pushed forward by President Trump shortly after he was sworn into office.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve the pipeline through the state. The KXL pipeline, which is scheduled to be nearly 1,200 miles long, will transport over 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada and North Dakota to oil refineries throughout the Gulf Coast.
Nebraska law barred regulators from considering spills or pipeline safety in its decision-making process, because who cares about the environment anyways, right?
The project still faces huge opposition from Nebraska land owners and environmentalists, and could face huge legal battles before being completed. And groups still have the option to appeal the commissions decision in state district court.
Originally, former Secretary of State John Kerry denied TransCanada a presidential permit in November of 2015, causing the pipeline company to withdraw its application with the state’s Public Service Commission. However, TransCanada submitted a new application when Trump issued an executive memo to advance the project.
Trump and TransCanada claim the Keystone XL will reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil and create thousands of jobs, but recent analysis shows that the project will only create 35 permanent jobs.