An Omaha firm has been chosen by the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct the supplemental environmental impact study needed for TransCanada to choose a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Governor Heineman praises the choice of HDR, an engineering consulting firm, to help map a new route away from the Sand Hills.
“I think that’s an outstanding choice. This is a firm that’s respected nationally and internationally and that’s one piece of the puzzle as we move forward,” Heineman says. “There are two others that we are currently working on simultaneously. That is the memorandum of understanding with the Department of State and then, ultimately, working with TransCanada on a new route.”
TransCanada agreed to move the Keystone XL pipeline away from the Sand Hill during a special session of the Nebraska legislature. The legislature authorized up to $2 million to pay for a supplemental environmental impact study, needed if an alternative route is chosen. The state will work with the federal government in assessing the environmental impact of a new route.
Governor Heineman says he supports efforts in Washington to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline, not wait until 2013 as proposed by the State Department.
“I haven’t gotten into the details, but in general I would support the idea that we ought to expedite the process. We’re going to do our part here in Nebraska, but if there are other parts of the pipeline they could move forward with that would be great news,” according to Heineman. “That would be called jobs and America needs jobs.”
TransCanada proposes moving crude oil derived from western Canadian tar sands 1,700 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas through the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline.