LINCOLN — The Nebraska Public Service Commission has scheduled public hearings Aug. 7 to 11 to take formal testimony on the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline across the state.

The hearings will be held at Lincoln’s Marriott Cornhusker Hotel, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.

The PSC, a five-member elected body, has until Nov. 23 to decide whether to approve or reject the route, or order an alternative route.

TransCanada Corp. filed for route approval last month for its 36-inch pipeline that would carry crude oil processed from tar sands in western Canada to a pipeline terminal near Steele City, Nebraska.

Other portions of the Keystone XL, completed previously, then would be used to transport oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. that are designed to refine the thick crude oil.

The 275-mile route across Nebraska sought by Trans­Canada is the same one given approval in 2013 by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

But former President Barack Obama denied a federal permit for the Keystone XL, and the project lay dormant until President Donald Trump took office and green-lighted the project earlier this year.

Opponents of the Keystone XL say the pipeline is no longer needed because of the glut of oil on the market now. If a pipeline must be built, they say it should be rerouted to follow the path of the existing Keystone pipeline.

Several meetings to gather public input are expected to be held later this spring and summer, but have not yet been scheduled.

The hearings in August are legal proceedings that involve only the company and parties approved to be formal intervenors, such as landowners along the route, labor unions and environmental groups., 402-473-9584

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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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