TransCanada Corporation has made a new application to the American government for permission to build its controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline through the US heartland.
The line would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska and skirt around the state's ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region. The pipeline would also run through southwest Saskatchewan and within a few kilometres of Shaunavon.
The Obama administration rejected the $7.6 billion project in its entirety earlier this year but left the door open for TransCanada to try again. The White House says that decision had less to do with the merits of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline than moves by Republicans in Congress to speed up the process.
The project has the support of the Saskatchewan government after a vote in the Legislature on Thursday, however, that support comes from only one side of the assembly.
"Overall, this is a good news story because it shows Saskatchewan supports the project, but it was disappointing that the NDP wouldn't support it," said Rosetown-Elrose Saskatchewan Party MLA Jim Reiter. "It was an opportunity for them to show that they were in favour of economic growth and jobs for the province, and they didn't do that."
The NDP counter that the government prevented them from participating in the debate and from amending the motion to include support for the pipeline if the National Energy Board is allowed to regulate it.
If approval is given, Calgary-based TransCanada says it expects construction to start early next year with oil flowing in late 2014 or early 2015.
Shawn Mullin talked with Jim Reiter about the Keystone XL debate in the legislature: