Nebraska gov pushes Obama to approve Keystone pipeline

Nebraska gov pushes Obama to approve Keystone pipeline
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Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is continuing to push President Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

Ricketts sent Obama a letter on Tuesday arguing that the pipeline takes a safe path through his state and warrants approval by the Obama administration. 

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“Like many other Nebraskans, I support the revised route and the construction of the pipeline,” he wrote.

“However, you alone have the power to approve this important infrastructure project that will bring good-paying jobs and much-needed tax revenue to Nebraska counties during construction and for years to come.” 

TransCanada, Keystone’s operator, agreed to reroute the proposed pipeline after local opposition to its original plan, which would have sent it through the state’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region. 

Nebraska officials approved that plan in 2013, and the state’s Supreme Court upheld it this January, effectively clearing the way for the Keystone in the state. Ricketts, who has long supported the pipeline, said then that it was time for Obama to approve the project.

Local opposition to the pipeline had been one of the Keystone’s stumbling blocks, but with opponents’ legal options exhausted there, Ricketts reiterated to Obama that the plan should move forward. 

“Given the public process in Nebraska has worked to ensure that the health, safety and environment of our communities along the proposed pipeline route are protected, I hope you will take the necessary action to issue a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL [P]ipeline,” Ricketts said in his letter. 

Obama has said he won’t approve a pipeline that could contribute to climate change. The State Department is conducting its final review of Keystone and Obama could issue his decision on the project soon.