LINCOLN — TransCanada Inc. on Wednesday submitted about 20 miles of changes to the proposed Nebraska route for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The changes are designed to address concerns about municipal drinking-water wellfields and sandy, erodible soils.
The new route tinkers slightly with the detour the company outlined for the 36-inch, crude-oil pipeline in April to avoid Nebraska's environmentally fragile Sand Hills, a condition suggested by federal regulators and later agreed to with the Nebraska Legislature last fall.
In the final route, two detours were outlined to avoid municipal wellfields at Clarks, Neb., which is northeast of Grand Island along the Platte River, and Western, Neb., which is west of Beatrice.
The pipeline route was also altered in northern Nebraska to avoid sandy, erodible soils that are similar to the Sand Hills but outside the area the state defined as “Sand Hills.”
TransCanada, in a press release, said the “fragile soils” alternative now avoids highly erodible areas.
The latest route alterations were submitted to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, which will review them and hold public hearings on the changes. The changes will also be submitted to the U.S. Department of State, which will make the ultimate decision to approve or deny the 1,700-mile pipeline project from Canada's tar-sands region to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“The preferred alternative route in this Supplemental Environmental Report was developed based on extensive feedback from Nebraskans and reflects our shared desire to minimize the disturbance of land and sensitive resources in the state,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer.
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