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South Dakota regulators again approve portion of Keystone XL pipeline

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PIERRE, S.D. Regulators in South Dakota have again approved the portion of the embattled Keystone XL oil pipeline that would go through the state.

The Public Utilities Commission’s decision Tuesday still requires TransCanada Corp. to get a presidential permit for the project.

President Barack Obama blocked the pipeline in November, but an attorney for the company has said TransCanada remains committed to the project, which could be revived under the next president.

The state authorized the pipeline in 2010, but permits must be revisited if construction doesn’t start within four years.

The commission voted to accept the company’s guarantee that it can complete the project while meeting the conditions of the 2010 approval.

The pipeline would transport oil from Alberta to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines headed to the Gulf Coast.

“Despite the unjustified denial of a presidential permit by the current U.S. administration, TransCanada is evaluating all of its options in order to construct and operate Keystone XL,” said company spokesman Mark Cooper in an email.

“This decision in South Dakota today further strengthens our commitment to Keystone XL, the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport needed Canadian and American oil to the people of the United States.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

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