‘We are very pleased:’ Notley says Nebraska’s Keystone OK means energy security

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TORONTO — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says Nebraska’s decision to allow TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to run through that state brings North America closer to greater energy security.

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission today approved the pipeline’s passage in a 3-2 vote, although not along the preferred route for the $10-billion project.

The panel ruled the new pipeline should be nearer to TransCanada’s (TSX:TRP) existing pipeline in Nebraska to maximize monitoring and to reduce the impact on habitat for endangered species.

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Notley says in a statement that the decision is another step in Alberta’s broader effort to bring more of its oil to the world and to diversify markets.

She urges Canadian decision-makers to follow Nebraska’s example so that Alberta can have access to global markets from Canadian ports.

TransCanada shelved its Energy East pipeline to the East Coast in October, citing delays resulting from the regulatory process and associated cost implications.

“While we are very pleased with Nebraska’s approval, it underscores that Canadian regulators need to keep pace if we are going to build a truly diversified set of markets,” Notley stated Monday.

The Nebraska go-ahead comes as TransCanada continues to clean up a 5,000-barrel oil spill last week from its pipeline in nearby South Dakota. Pipeline opponents have held up the spill as a reason not to approve Keystone XL.

Notley was in Toronto Monday as part of a speaking tour to stump for the Trans Mountain pipeline. The $7.4-billion Kinder Morgan Canada (TSX:KML) project is to expand an existing pipeline to the British Columbia coast through Burnaby so Alberta can get a better price overseas for its oil.

The line was approved last year by the federal government, but is opposed by B.C.’s governing NDP. Burnaby officials have been accused of delaying the project by dragging out permit approvals.

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