New Keystone Permit Application 'Imminent'

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha on Thursday confirmed a report that the company could reapply for a federal permit for the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline "as early as Friday," but would not say whether the application would necessarily come that day.

At a shareholders' meeting last week, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said that the filing of a new permit application was "imminent," but did not provide a specific date either.

The Obama administration earlier this year denied a permit for TransCanada to build the full pipeline running from Canada down to the Gulf Coast, but President Obama did endorse the southern portion of the project, which will run from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas, to help ease a bottleneck in the nation's pipeline system.

Since then, TransCanada has unveiled a new route for the northern portion of the pipeline that would go around the sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. Obama had delayed the project last fall because of environmental concerns about the route through Nebraska. The Nebraska Legislature and the state's Republican Gov. Dave Heineman have signed off on the new route.

TransCanada's new permit application is sure to restart the highly-divisive political debate over the project.