TransCanada, the firm pushing the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta to Steele City, NB, is ready to move ahead with construction in 2019.The US State Department has released an environmental statement, compliant with a court order handed down in August, authorizing the controversial pipeline. when completed, the project will use 1,900-km of steel pipeline. Keystone XL was first proposed by TransCanada in 2008 and was subject to years of reviews, protests and delays before the State Department under former President Barack Obama rejected the plan in late 2015 on the grounds it was not in the US’ national interest.  When the presidency changed hands, TransCanada was invited to re-apply for permission to build the line. It did so, and quickly received permits. The final state to approve the pipeline, Nebraska, did so in November 2017 on the condition that TransCanada build on the ‘Mainline Alternative’ route, which co-locates with existing rights-of-way for more miles than the company’s preferred route.  The 36-in. diameter pipe will carry crude from the oilfields of Alberta to Steele City, where it will move via other pipelines to terminals in the Midwest and Gulf Coast. According to TransCanada, water crossings along the line will be made via horizontal directional drilling in order to minimize environmental impact, and the pipe under rivers will be made of thicker steel and protected with abrasion-resistant coatings to reduce the risk of damage that could lead to an underwater release. www.transcanada.com