State Dept. could potentially find new route for Keystone XL
While the Obama administration deals with massive protests, including thousands of people surrounding the White House earlier this week, the State Department is apparently considering the possibility of rerouting the pipeline around the most environmentally sensitive areas.
The State Department is considering rerouting TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline to avoid ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The State Department has been weighing issues raised in public meetings and talks with officials in six states that would be affected “including whether to consider a rerouting of the Keystone XL pipeline away from an environmentally delicate area of Nebraska,” the official said.
A decision to consider an alternative route would require an environmental impact study on the new segment of the pipeline, the official said. Such a move could delay a final decision on whether to go forward on the pipeline.
The Nebraska legislature is holding a special session and one of the bills they are considering is one to demand that the pipeline be rerouted around the Sand Hills and the Ogalala aquifer, which provides nearly all the fresh water in that state.
Rerouting the pipeline could well mute opposition in Nebraska but is unlikely to satisfy environmental critics of the pipeline, whose arguments are based on the effect of tar sands oil on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rather than on localized effects.