O’NEILL — The fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline in Nebraska will be known by the end of this year.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission held a public hearing at the O’Neill Community Center on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m..
Hundreds of people turned out to listen or participate in the public forum.
The hearing on Wednesday marks the second public meeting on the Nebraska Keystone XL Pipeline application. While no decision will be made at the meeting, PSC Information Coordinator Deb Collins says the final decision will come down in the near future.
“This is a legal proceeding, so the Major Oil Pipeline Act really guides the timeline. There has been a presidential declaration signed on the pipeline, and the Act says that the latest they can, the commission, can make a decision is 8 months after that Presidential signing. So the absolute latest date that the commission can make a decision would be November 23.”
TransCanada Spokesperson and Senior Manager Terry Cunha says he is appreciative of the opportunity to hear from Nebraskans.
“Our focus has been and continues to be to work with these individuals and try to address their questions. We do want this to be a very transparent process, and we are pleased the PSC is taking time to listen to Nebraskans just like we have for the past seven years, where we are trying to address some of their concerns that this project is unsafe or poses a threat to them.”
The O’Neill Police Department and State Troopers were on scene to monitor the event, direct traffic and provide security. Officers say they were not expecting any trouble, rather wanted to keep people safe while expressing their opinions.
TransCanada and formal intervenors will have the chance to voice their opinions in formal arguments that will run August 7-11 in Lincoln.