Keystone pipeline developer proposes new route

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President Obama rejected a federal cross-border permit for the pipeline in January, citing the need for more review of routes through Nebraska and other matters. But the administration has invited TransCanada to reapply for the permit, which the company intends to do.

Republicans say construction of the overall project should commence quickly while state and federal officials review the Nebraska-specific portion.

They have used the White House failure to approve the project to attack administration energy policies, alleging Obama is passing up a chance to create jobs and increase energy security.

Back in Nebraska, TransCanada’s filing with state officials came a day after Gov. Dave Heineman (R) signed a bill into law that will enable an expedited state review of the project.

“Nebraska will move forward on the review process of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and any future pipelines that will create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” he said in a statement earlier this week, calling the review a “top priority.”

But Jane Kleeb of the anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska said the new route still cuts through environmentally sensitive areas. Opponents of the project fear that spills could contaminate a vital aquifer.

“If TransCanada cared about our state, landowners, water and Sandhills, they would have proposed a safer, more responsible route instead of trying to play games with landowners,” she said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Environmentalists bitterly oppose the pipeline due to greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands extraction and other concerns. Major business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute are lobbying for its approval.