Nebraska Governor, Dave Heineman, approved the new route for the Keystone XL pipeline that would link Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas. The project, which affects 850 landowners in Texas alone, has been delayed for more than a year because of problems including intensified protests, conflict of interests, and lawsuits.
TransCanada Corporation (NYSE:TRP) (TSE:TRP) submitted a revised route to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality last September, which incorporated two detours at Clarks and Western Nebraska to avoid possible damages to the environmentally fragile area; Sand Hills, the drinking water well-fields and sandy soils.
Gov. Heineman’s approval on the new route would remove one of the remaining hindrances before TransCanada Corporation (NYSE:TRP) (TSE:TRP) obtains its final permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The governor’s approval was not surprising because the Department of Environment Quality had already stated that the pipeline is mostly safe, earlier this month. According to regulators, the new route would avoid the Sand Hills area and TransCanada would pay for cleaning up any leaks.
The company submitted its Presidential permit application to the U.S. Department of State Keystone XL Pipeline from the U.S./Canada border in Montana to Steele City, Nebraska on May 4, 2012. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of State is conducting its own evaluation on the revised route, and it is expected to release its findings within the next several days.
Environmental groups are strongly against the construction of the 1,897-km (1,179-mile) Keystone XL Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. According to them, the project intensifies the extraction of Canadian oil sands, which results in the emission of more greenhouse gases than other types of oil, thus contributes to the global warming.
Earlier in 2012, the Obama administration rejected the rapid approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, citing a congressionally mandated deadline that prevented the Department of State from gathering enough information to approve the project and protect the American people. Back then, President Obama stated, “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”