LINCOLN — The only public hearing on a federal environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline will be held April 18 in Grand Island, Neb.
The U.S. State Department will conduct the hearing on its draft supplemental environmental impact statement, which concluded the pipeline represents minimal risk if built and operated properly. Although written comments can be submitted to the department until April 22, the Grand Island event will be the only hearing before a final decision is reached on the project.
The hearing at the Heartland Events Center, 700 East Stolley Park Road, will consist of two sessions: noon to 3:30 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.
The controversial project proposes piping 830,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day from Canada's tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The 1,700-mile pipeline has been delayed and rerouted because of concerns a leak would contaminate groundwater in Nebraska's environmentally fragile Sand Hills.
Environmental groups have criticized reviews by both Nebraska and federal officials, saying they contracted with engineering firms that have done past work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline.
Pipeline supporters say the project will create jobs and provide a new source of oil. Many national elected officials have pressured President Barack Obama to approve a permit for the project, which is necessary because the pipeline would cross an international border.
Comments at the meeting will become a part of the official record used in the preparation of a final supplemental environmental report, the State Department said in a news release.
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