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TransCanada president and chief executive officer Russ Girling. Image courtesy of TransCanada/Youtube.

TransCanada asked the U.S. State Department on Monday to pause its review of the Keystone XL pipeline as the company continues to duke it out with Nebraska landowners over the pipeline’s route.

“We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state,” TransCanada president and chief executive officer Russ Girling said.

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters the review will move forward for the time being.

TransCanada has been embroiled in a years long dispute with Nebraska landowners over the $8 billion pipeline’s route through the state.

Earlier this year, the Nebraska Supreme Court approved the project’s route and cleared the way for TransCanada to begin issuing eminent domain notices to landowners.

That process was halted by a Nebraska judge in February after a group of landowners filed suit against the company.

TransCanada said Monday that it has applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) for route approval following the legal challenges it has faced in the state.

The company expects that approval by the PSC would take seven to 12 months to complete.

“I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved. We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate,” Girling said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told Reuters that President Obama, who has repeatedly vowed to block the project, is expected to make a final decision on the pipeline before he leaves office next year.
Last year, the State Department released a key assessment of the pipeline that concluded the project would have a limited environmental impact.
The 830,000 barrel per day pipeline is expected to create over 40,000 jobs and generate millions of dollars of tax revenue in communities along the pipeline’s U.S. route that runs from Morgan, Montana to Steele City, Nebraska.