Even if the Department of State grants a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline that might not be the end of the issue.
Lawsuits might well follow.
Sen. Johanns requested the public hearings being held this week and even succeeded in securing a public hearing in the Sand Hills. Johanns opposes the route proposed by TransCanada, arguing that the company doesn’t need to run it through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. He says the company should build this oil pipeline next to an existing one that runs through eastern Nebraska.
Johanns urges Nebraska residents to attend the public hearings in Lincoln and Atkinson to voice their opinions.
“I worry, though, that at the end of this, they’re going to grant the permit,” Johanns says. “Then, at the end of that, I’m pretty confident in saying, and I’ve said this many times before, I do think there’ll be all kinds of legal efforts to stop this pipeline.”
Johanns says he has made that point with TransCanada executives, reasoning that it’s in their best interest to move the pipeline route away from the Sand Hills. So far the company has been unmoved by such arguments.
Environmental groups seem poised to file lawsuits should the State Department grant the pipeline permit.
Ken Winston with the Nebraska chapter of the Sierra Club has told reporters lawsuits are sure to be filed against the pipeline if the permit is granted.
“Yes, there’ll be a number of different lawsuits from different directions and different issues,” according to Winston.
TransCanada has proposed moving oil deposits from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast through a $7 billion, 1,700 mile oil pipeline. The Department of State holds two public hearings in Nebraska this week; today, in Lincoln and Thursday, in Atkinson.