[Guardian] A panel of Nebraska regulators have voted narrowly in favor of allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to follow a path through the state, removing the last major regulatory hurdle for the controversial project.
Well prior to the advent of welded pipe sections, this photo depicts a gang of men laying what appears to be a ten inch section of threaded pipe.
The Nebraska public service commission voted 3-2 to approve a permit for the pipeline, which will stretch for 1,200 miles and carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day. The vote saw one of the four Republicans on the commission, Mary Ridder, join with the Democrat, Crystal Rhoades, in opposing the permit. Rhoades said she was concerned about the impact upon landowners and that there was "no evidence" the pipeline would create jobs in Nebraska.
The vote will allow the pipeline to go through Nebraska, but not on the path favored by TransCanada, the developer of the project. The approved path is further east than originally planned.
The decision is likely to be immediately challenged by Native American and environmental groups that claim the pipeline endangers water supplies and will worsen climate change. Last week, an existing Keystone pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, although the Nebraska panel did not take this into consideration in its decision.
While the pipeline has been ostensibly approved, it faces a thicket of legal challenges that may delay or even halt the project. Bill McKibben, the co-founder of climate group 350.org and a leading opponent of the pipeline, said lawyers he’d spoken to are “cheerful and that there is “lots of room to fight.”