By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved Tuesday a
new route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has been held
up for more than a year, in part because of objections to the
pipeline in the state.
The approval by the governor, a Republican, is one of the
last remaining hurdles the pipeline has to clear before getting
a final permit from the Obama administration.
The other major development will come from the US State
Department, which is working on a separate analysis of the
pipeline's new route. The department is expected to release a
draft of those findings in the coming days.
Canadian pipeline operator TransCanada first submitted an
application for Keystone XL in 2008. It devised a new route
through Nebraska in 2012, after landowners and lawmakers in the
state said they wanted the pipeline to avoid an ecologically
sensitive area known as the Sand Hills. The new route travels
east of the Sand Hills region.
Heineman's approval for the pipeline was largely expected
after Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality determined
earlier this month that the pipeline was mostly safe.
The Obama administration rejected a permit for the pipeline
in early 2012, saying a congressionally mandated deadline for a
decision made it difficult to conduct a thorough review of the
TransCanada applauded the Nebraska governor's approval,
saying the pipeline expansion would help bring the
increasing amount of oil being produced in North America to the
US Gulf Coast refining hub.
"The need for Keystone XL continues to grow stronger as
North American oil production increases and having the right
infrastructure in place is critical to meet the goal of
reducing dependence on foreign oil," TransCanada CEO Russ
Girling said in a statement.
The pipeline, which would extend from Alberta to Steele
City, Neb., continues to face strong opposition from national
environmental groups. They say the pipeline will contribute to
global warming by bolstering extraction of Canadian oil sands,
which emit more greenhouse gases during production than other
types of oil.
Dow Jones Newswires