Canadian firm offers new route for oil pipeline through Nebraska

Nebraska regulators said they would review the new proposal and hold a public hearing on it before submitting a recommendation to the governor, possibly by the end of the year. The governor will decide whether to approve the new route for the pipeline.
By JOSH FUNK Modified: September 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm •  Published: September 6, 2012

The company wanting to build a pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries said Wednesday it has revised its proposed route through Nebraska to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

The latest proposed Keystone XL pipeline route is TransCanada's second attempt to satisfy state environmental regulators. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality said in July that the initial revised route crossed land that could erode easily and passed near unconfined aquifers that supply drinking water to residents and livestock.

The new TransCanada proposal tweaks that April plan, making the route veer east shortly after entering the state to avoid more of the sensitive areas in Keya Paha County, east around the town of Clarks and west around the town of Western to avoid drinking water well fields.

“TransCanada shares the goal of protecting key water and natural resources with Nebraskans,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said. The proposal also upgrades planned safety measures, adding more remote control shut-off valves and inspections, the company said.

Nebraska regulators said they would review the new proposal and hold a public hearing on it before submitting a recommendation to the governor, possibly by the end of the year. The governor will decide whether to approve the new route for the pipeline.

“An initial scan of the report indicates that it responds to some of the comments raised by the NDEQ and the public, but a full evaluation will now begin,” said Mike Linder, director of the state agency.

Environmental groups have long opposed the pipeline project because of concerns that it could contaminate water supplies, increase air pollution and harm wildlife.

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