NATION & WORLD
By JOSH FUNK Associated Press
company that wants to build a $7 bil- lion pipeline to carry tar sands oil across the Plains to refi neries near the Gulf of Mexico now has an offi cial map of en- vironmentally sensitive areas to avoid in Nebraska. State offi cials said Dec. 29 that Trans- Canada will have to use a 10-year-old map of the Sandhills region as it develops a new route through Nebraska for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Trans- Canada agreed in November to develop the new route through Nebraska to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills. “Obviously, the applicant cannot pro-
pose the route without knowing the area to be avoided,” said Mike Linder, director of the Nebraska Department of Environ- mental quality. TransCanada’s proposed Keystone
OMAHA, Neb. — The Canadian
from environmental groups that raised concerns the pipeline could foul un- derground and surface water supplies, increase air pollution around refi neries and harm wildlife. The U.S. State Department cited con-
cerns about the Keystone XL route, es- pecially near the Sandhills and Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska, when it decided to delay approval of the project. The entire project remains on hold while a new route is developed and studied. The re- view process for the new route is expect- ed to last six to nine months. TransCanada offi cials say the com-
line in Nebraska, but Millar said the com- pany doesn’t expect the change to signifi cantly affect the total cost. TransCanada estimates about 100 miles of the 1,700-mile route will have to change. TransCanada ex-
pany will follow through on its commit- ment to route the pipeline around the Sandhills. Spokesman James Millar said the new Sandhills map will be useful. “It’s a very helpful and positive step,”
Millar said. The original Keystone XL route
XL project is designed to carry oil from Canada across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. TransCanada also has proposed connect- ing it to the Bakken oil fi eld in Montana and North Dakota. The project has drawn criticism
would have entered Keya Paha County near the center of the state and followed a diagonal path southeast to Steele City in Jefferson County. That proposed path crosses a signifi cant section of the Sand- hills in Keya Paha, Rock, Holt, Garfi eld and Wheeler counties. It’s not yet clear how much it will cost TransCanada to re-route the pipe-
pects to have its alter- native route through Nebraska approved by next September or Oc- tober, Millar said. Nebraska offi cials
plan to hold at least two rounds of pub- lic hearings in the state as part of their evaluation of the new route. Linder said he the fi rst public meetings could be held as soon as February after TransCanada submits its proposed alternative routes. The second round of public meetings will be held several months later after the state develops a draft of its environmen- tal review of the route. Nebraska lawmakers passed two pipe-
line laws during a special session in No- vember to give the state more oversight of major oil pipelines, including the Key- stone XL. TransCanada agreed to move
the route away from the Sandhills and submit to a state environmental review. The Keystone XL project is the sec- ond phase of a $13 billion underground pipeline network designed to move 1.5 million barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. refi neries. Delays in getting approval for the Keystone XL already have added $1 billion to the total cost. TransCanada won approval in 2008
Thursday, January 5, 2012 ■ Page 13 Nebraska gives pipeline fi rm map of areas to avoid
for the fi rst Keystone pipeline, which carries crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba and through North Da- kota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. That portion be- gan moving crude in June 2010.
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