Gov. Dave Heineman expects a recommendation on the Keystone XL pipeline to come to his desk at the end of this month or the beginning of next.
Heineman expects to receive a recommendation from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in the next few weeks, now that the DEQ completed a lengthy public hearing in Albion. State law approved this past session gives the governor the power to accept or reject a proposed alternative route for the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
“It’s not going to be a decision, whichever way I go, that will make everybody in the state happy, but I’m glad we opened up the process. And, again, I’m really pleased with all the comments we’ve received,” Heineman states.
The new route avoids the Sand Hills. It is part of a proposed $7 billion, 1,700 mile oil pipeline project by TransCanada, stretching from western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
Heineman says he was pleased by the turnout for the public hearing on Keystone XL held by DEQ in Albion.
“The great thing about Nebraska is that we do listen to all our citizens. We’ll continue to do that. Again, I don’t want to prejudge it. I want to see the report,” Heineman says.
Under state law, the DEQ makes a recommendation of the governor who has final say over the issue.
The federal State Department has held off making a recommendation that the pipeline receive a presidential permit to cross the border due to environmental concerns raised in Nebraska. A special session of the Unicameral held last summer reached an agreement with TransCanada to re-route the pipeline away from the Sand Hills.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman discusses upcoming Keystone XL pipeline decision. [1:35]