Gov. Dave Heineman has received the final evaluation report of the Keystone Nebraska Reroute from Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality and now has 30 days to review the report before he makes his recommendation to the U.S. State Department.
The more than 2,000-page report came to fruition after Gov. Heineman called the Unicameral into Special Session in 2011 to address pipeline issues. Finally, in April 2012, Gov. Heineman signed into law LB1161, allowing NDEQ to evaluate the possible pipeline coming to Nebraska.
Immediately following the passing of LB1161, TransCanada proposed a new alignment in Nebraska with the goal of avoiding Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sand Hills.
Then in July, NDEQ provided TransCanada with public and agency feedback on its proposed route. In response, TransCanada proposed several modifications to the route in its Supplemental Environmental Report, submitted on September 5, 2012.
NDEQ has held public meetings and a public hearing on this issue prior to submitting the final report to the governor.
"I appreciate the feedback that we have received from citizens, and the hard work of the Department of Environmental Quality in addressing this issue in a thoughtful and deliberate manner," Gov. Heineman said.
Some groups are commending the NDEQ for their work in preparing the report.
Advocacy group "Americans for Prosperity" says it's happy with the "transparent manner" in which the concerns of Nebraskans were dealt with. AFP has encouraged Gov. Heinemann to approve the Keystone XL project, citing 57 special conditions TransCanada has agreed to incorporate into the project.
Consumer Energy Alliance also wanted to commend NDEQ in a statement released following the report being received by the governor. The statement said, "We commend the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for its dedication to a thorough, scientific-based evaluation and for its consistent engagement with landowners and the public throughout this process."