By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- Nebraska's environment agency has completed a
much-anticipated review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in the
state, finding that a new route proposed by pipeline operator
TransCanada avoids sensitive regions that have been a source of
The final review, released
Friday, triggers a 30-day deadline for Nebraska Gov. Dave
Heineman, a Republican, to make a final recommendation on the
pipeline to the US government.
The US State Department is conducting a separate review of
the pipeline because it would cross the US-Canada border. The
State Department is expected to issue its own draft environmental review in coming
TransCanada says it expects to receive a permit from the US
government by the end of the first quarter.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been controversial since it was
first proposed in 2008, but some of the fiercest opposition has
come from Nebraska. Environmental groups, landowners and
lawmakers balked at an earlier route proposed by TransCanada
because it passed through the state's ecologically sensitive
Sand Hills region.
A new pipeline route curves east of the Sand Hills but would
still cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a source of drinking water
and irrigation supplies, Friday's report from the Nebraska
Department of Environmental Quality said. The new
route also avoids many fragile soils in northern Nebraska and
shallow groundwater areas.
"I will now carefully review this report over the next
several weeks," Mr. Heineman said in a statement.
Dow Jones Newswires