TransCanada Corp announced Monday it would go ahead with construction of part of its Keystone XL oil pipeline that does not require US presidential approval, a stretch from the state of Oklahoma to the US Gulf Coast.
The company also said it will resubmit its proposal for the entirety of the pipeline from Canada that was rejected last month by US President Barack Obama, a move that sparked an election-year row over energy policy and the environment.
The new presidential permit application would include "an alternative route in Nebraska as soon as that route is selected," as well as an "already reviewed route" in Montana and South Dakota, TransCanada added.
Company president Russ Girling said he hoped the lengthy environmental review of the original project -- much of it unchanged in the new proposal -- will mean a shorter approval process once a new route in Nebraska is determined that avoids the ecologically sensitive Sandhills area, which lies above a vital agricultural aquifer.
The White House welcomed the re-application, saying "we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight-year high."
Obama's office said in a statement that "moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.
"We look forward to working with TransCanada to ensure that it is built in a safe, responsible and timely manner, and we commit to take every step possible to expedite the necessary Federal permits," the White House added.