Nebraska trying to change Keystone pipeline route

Facing strong resistance from local constituencies, Nebraska governor Dave Heineman says he’ll meet with state lawmakers to consider challenging the proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline, CBC reports:

Pipeline opponents, including a coalition of environmentalists, ranchers and landowners, sought the special session to consider a proposal that would have given the state control over the pipe’s route.

Lawmakers, however, said last week that the measure wouldn’t likely survive a court challenge.

The issue is expected to be addressed during the special session beginning Nov. 1.

The $7B ribbon of pipe, which would extend an existing pipeline from Canadian oilsands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast, has come up against strong opposition in the United States for facilitating a supposed increase in carbon emissions as well as the potential for spills along the way. The rancour has run especially strong in Nebraska, where the 2700-kilometre pipeline would cross over the Ogallala aquifer, a key supply of water for Nebraska and seven other states.

The State Department has already hinted that the project will be approved, stating this summer that it expects the environmental impacts from the pipeline to be minimal. It will decide whether to grant a permit by year-end.

The proponent, pipeline operator TransCanada (TSE:TRP), maintains it cannot move the proposed route at this juncture in the federal permitting process.

Keystone would help Canada move closer to the international benchmark for crude instead of US pricing which trades at a discount of more than $20/barrel. Canada currently pumps 2 million barrels per day to the US, with more than half coming from the oilsands.



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