The controversial Keystone oil pipeline now has Nebraska's approval to build. Gov. Dave Heineman has put his signature on a letter to the president, saying it avoids the environmentally-sensitive Sandhills region of Nebraska.
Heineman said Tuesday, "It comes down to three issues - energy independence... economic impact... very, very critical is environmental impact."
Governor Dave Heineman says the 195 mile Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska passes the three point test he set.
"It's clear to me it has a positive economic impact in terms of jobs in Nebraska and America," he said.
The long-term economic impact is disputed, since most jobs are for construction.
According to Kleeb, Heineman "approved the pipeline route that crosses the aquifer after he asked Obama to deny the route that crossed the Aquifer. Heineman also turns his back on landowners and citizens who asked for an unbiased review of the risks of this pipeline. President Obama is our only hope now. It is clear given what Pres. Obama said about climate change yesterday that Heineman did not want to be on the same side as Obama. It is a shame when a politician these days can't cross party line even to stand up for our water and family farmers and ranchers."
On environmental issues, Heineman said "impacts on aquifers from a release should be localized and Keystone would be responsible for any cleanup."
The governor said the project avoids "fragile soils" and "shallow groundwater".
According to the governor, Keystone would have to develop an Emergency Response Plan.
"In the event of a spill, appropriate authorities would have timely access to product characteristics," Heineman wrote in his letter.
The pipeline has been a source of controversy, but Heineman said, "the concerns of Nebraskans have had a major influence on the pipeline route, the mitigation commitments, and this evaluation."
Prior to construction, Keystone would be required to test domestic and livestock wells within 300 feet of the route. There would also be an independent public employee to act as a liaison between the pipeline company and landowners. Keystone would also have to carry $200 million in third party liability insurance to cover costs for any incidents in Nebraska.
Others praised the Governor's approval, including Americans for Prosperity-Nebraska.
Brad Stevens of the group said, "We applaud Gov. Heineman for taking leadership on a project that will grow our economy in an environmentally sensitive way. The only remaining obstacle between this project and putting thousands of Americans back to work is a Presidential permit. We encourage President Obama to follow our governor's lead and approve this important project without delay."