Gov. Dave Heineman says he expects to receive information on the alternative route proposed for the Keystone XL by TransCanada by the end of this year or the beginning of next.
Heineman says the process to evaluate the new Keystone XL route proposed by TransCanada proceeds even as landowners press a lawsuit, claiming the law the process is based on is unconstitutional.
“What a judge is going to rule, I don’t know, we’ll wait and see what they say,” Heineman says. “I’m moving forward as if the law is constitutional. I have no reason to believe it isn’t.”
Heineman says the route must pass two key requirements. It must be outside the Sand Hills and it must pass the environmental review.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is working with Omaha engineering firm HDR to evaluate the latest route proposed by TransCanada. The State Department is working closely with Nebraska on finding an alternative route through the state, according to Heineman.
Even as the evaluation process moves forward and the lawsuit proceeds in the courts, the politics of Keystone XL swirl, in Nebraska and throughout the country. The proposal by TransCanada to build a $7 billion, 1,700 miles oil pipeline from western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas has become entangled in the national debate pitting economic interests against environmental concerns.
Heineman vows to not let outside pressure influence his decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL route or not.
“This is probably been one of the most political issues that I’ve ever seen,” Heineman says, “starting with the president of the United States.”
To go to the NDEQ Website on Keystone XL click here.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]