Nebraska guv OKs new route for Keystone XL through state

Oil pipeline's course bypasses lands Obama called sensitive

By Grant Schulte

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22 2013 8:57 p.m. MST

TransCanada executives have said the company will build a pipeline with rigorous safeguards and carry $200 million in third-party liability insurance to cover cleanup costs in Nebraska. TransCanada CEO and President Russ Girling said Tuesday that the project had passed a strict review and would help national security.

"The need for Keystone XL continues to grow stronger as North American oil production increases, and having the right infrastructure in place is critical to meet the goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil," Girling said in the statement. "Keystone XL is the most studied cross-border pipeline ever proposed, and it remains in America's national interests to approve a pipeline that will have a minimal impact on the environment."

Canada exports most of its oil to the U.S. and needs a way to move its growing oil sands production from northern Alberta, which has more than 170 billion barrels of proven reserves. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to increase to 3.7 million in 2025. Only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more reserves.

Pipeline opponents are still challenging a Nebraska pipeline-siting law that was written as part of a deal to let state officials review the project. The plaintiffs — a group of Nebraska landowners opposed to the project — say they are concerned that a pipeline company could use the state power of eminent domain to obtain land for a project. A judge has allowed the lawsuit to proceed in court.

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