TransCanada submits new Keystone XL route in Nebraska
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote) said on Wednesday it has submitted a new route for the project to build the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada to Texas that will avoid sensitive ecological areas in Nebraska.
The company said the 830,000 barrels per day pipeline will avoid the Sandhills, a region of prairie and sand dunes that is rich in plants and wildlife, with thousands of ponds and lakes.
President Barack Obama delayed a decision on the $7.6 billion pipeline application earlier this year, citing concerns about the northern portion of the route near a major aquifer and the Sandhills in the state.
The pipeline has been at the center of an emotional debate in the United States, pitting promoters of energy security and job creation against advocates of a green economy who fear the environmental risks of moving oil through the country's midsection.
TransCanada has been working with Nebraska officials to come up with a new route and it hopes to have U.S. State Department approval for the northern section early next year.
"Based on feedback from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the public, we have refined our proposed routing," Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer, said in a release.
The alternative route submitted in an environmental report to Nebraska on Wednesday was developed "based on extensive feedback from Nebraskans, and reflects our shared desire to minimize the disturbance of land and sensitive resources in the state," said Girling.
Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality plans to publish maps of the new route on its website later on Wednesday, a public affairs official said. Continued...