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By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN – The company that wants to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline across America expects it will be approved by President Obama’s administration, while the grassroots group that has been the project’s main obstacle in Nebraska expects Obama to derail the pipeline.
A Canadian pipeline company,TransCanada, has been working for four years to get permits from U.S. regulators to build the pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries. But the project was tripped up in Nebraska, where Bold Nebraska organized landowner opposition that evolved into a national movement against the project.
Mitt Romney had promised to approve the project on Day One of his administration, but Obama has been less clear about his intentions.
TransCanada agreed to revise its route through Nebraska to avoid its fragile sandhills, and that route is under review by the state Department of Environmental Quality, which makes a recommendation to Gov. Dave Heineman, who has the final say on approving the new route.
TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said today the company will continue to work with the Obama administration to get its presidential permit approved; theState Department has said it will decide on the project sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Howard said TransCanada’s focus now is getting the new Nebraska route approved so the State Department can complete its review and make a recommendation to President Obama. Prior to making its recommendations to the governor, the state DEQ has scheduled a final public meeting on the revised pipeline route on Dec. 4 in Albion.
“We continue to believe that the Keystone XL Pipeline will be approved,” Howard said in a press statement. “The facts that support the approval of Keystone XL remain the same, and the need for this pipeline grows even stronger the longer its approval is delayed.”
But Bold Nebraska Executive Director Jane Kleeb expects Obama to deny the permit “based on the simple fact that his fuel efficiency standards will save more oil than the Keystone XL pipeline could pump in 45 years.”
“Why would he undo one of his biggest achievements for families’ pocketbooks as well as climate?” Kleeb said. “President Obama knows what is at risk with this export tar sands pipeline — family ranches, water, health of communities and most important, his legacy.”
Bold Nebraska wasted no time getting busy sending a message to Obama,organizing a photo Wednesday of Nebraskans in the sandhills holding up signs asking him to deny the pipeline permit. Environmentalists are also planning to protest the project at the White House on Nov. 18.
“If he paves the way for the mining and exporting of tar sands, his legacy will not be one of slowing the rise of the ocean, rather his legacy will be paving the way for more Sandys,” Kleeb said. “That is simply not who he is as a leader or a father.”
TransCanada’s stock dropped today on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.
TransCanada’s spokesman said the pipeline will help improve U.S. energy security and create jobs and billions in private investment.
“It lets hard-working Americans use their skills to build a critical piece of North American energy infrastructure that will supply U.S. refineries with oil they need to continue making products we rely on every day,” Howard said.
View the original article here
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