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Nebraska governor announces special legislative session on Keystone XL

The governor of Nebraska said Monday that he will call a special session of the Nebraska legislature to take up the matter of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would cut through that state and cross over the Ogalala aquifer, which supplies nearly all the fresh water for the state.

Republican Gov. Dave Heineman’s decision means Nebraska, where the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline project has faced some of its greatest resistance, doesn’t want to just leave the matter to the federal government. The State Department, which has authority over the pipeline because it would cross the U.S. border, is expected to decide whether to approve a permit for the project by year’s end.

Pipeline opponents, including a coalition of environmentalists, ranchers and landowners, sought the special session to consider a proposal that would have given the state control over the pipe’s route. Lawmakers, however, said last week that the measure wouldn’t likely survive a court challenge.

Heineman says he supports the building of the pipeline, but wants the route changed so it doesn’t threaten the fragile ecosystems of his state.

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