The Keystone XL rerouting process in Nebraska resumed late last week, following the April 17 approval of Legislative Bill 1161 by Gov. Dave Heineman and the subsequent submission of a pipeline routing report by TransCanada to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.
With the Governor’s approval, LB1161came into effect on April 18. The new legislation authorizes the NDEQ to resume its role in evaluating all proposed pipelines in the state. In announcing his approval of the bill, Gov. Heineman said the state was making the Keystone XL rerouting process a “priority.”
“Nebraska will move forward on the review process of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and any future pipelines that will create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The review process is a top priority for Nebraska,” Gov. Heineman said
On the same day that LB1161 came into effect, TransCanada submitted a report to the NDEQ that assessed alternative routing corridors for Keystone XL, all of which avoid the Nebraska Sandhills. The report, which is posted on a new project website established by the NDEQ, provides a comprehensive analysis of a number of potential reroute options and presents a preferred alternative corridor that runs to the east of the Sandhills region – a region that was previously delineated by state and federal agencies and communicated to TransCanada by the NDEQ. This data will be reviewed by the state as part of a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on Keystone XL. Preferred Alternative Corridor.
According to TransCanada’s new report, the new route would not cross any areas where groundwater lies less than five feet below the surface. But about 35 miles of the pipeline would cross over groundwater that is less than 20 feet below the surface.
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