Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trans Canada Proposes Keystone XL Pipeline Reroute Bypassing Nebraska’s Sandhills

On April 18, the owner of the proposed 1,700 mile, $7 billion Keystone XL crude oil pipeline between Alberta and Texas proposed a series of new routings across Nebraska, all of which would bypass the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region which overlies the Ogallalla aquifer supplying drinking and irrigation water to eight states. Earlier last week, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed a bill allowing that state’s relevant agencies to review the proposed pipeline’s routing, regardless of federal action or inaction on permits for the project.

President Obama has already directed the responsible federal agencies to fast track the 485 mile southern segment of the new pipeline, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. Approval of the routing and permits for construction of the northern segment has been delayed because of concern over the possibility of massive groundwater pollution in the eight midwestern states supplied by the Ogallalla aquifer should the pipeline be buried in the Sandhills, and spring a leak there. The proposed new Nebraska routes are designed to overcome this particular objection to construction of the entire project.

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