Nebraska governor asks Clinton to reroute oil pipeline

Fri Oct 7, 2011 8:14pm EDT

Nebraska state Governor Dave Heineman attends the signing of a trade agreement with Pedro Alvarez, head of the Cuban food import agency Alimport, at the Palco Hotel in Havana March 27, 2007.REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

Nebraska state Governor Dave Heineman attends the signing of a trade agreement with Pedro Alvarez, head of the Cuban food import agency Alimport, at the Palco Hotel in Havana March 27, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa

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(Reuters) - Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to reroute a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to Texas so that it avoids crossing a major underground aquifer in his state.

In a letter to the State Department, Heineman said Clinton has the authority to change the route of the $7 billion Keystone pipeline if it is in the national interest.

The proposed route would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a giant underground reservoir that touches eight states but is mostly under Nebraska. Critics say an oil leak could pollute the water supply of the Plains states.

"Rerouting the pipeline around the Ogallala Aquifer is in the national interest," Heineman said. "Therefore, I request that Secretary Clinton use her permitting authority to change the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline."

The pipeline proposed by TransCanada would extend more than 1,600 miles from Alberta to Texas, through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. It is designed to carry crude oil from Canada's rich oil sands deposits to Texas Gulf Coast refineries and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East imports.

But critics say the risk of an oil spill that could pollute the aquifer is too great. Hundreds of people converged on a small town in Nebraska last week to protest the proposed pipeline at a U.S. government hearing.

Heineman also asked the State Department to clarify whether Nebraska has the authority to pass legislation to give the state the right to set the route of the pipeline.

Several lawmakers in Nebraska have said they want the state legislature to pass such legislation but it would require Heineman calling a special session of the state legislature.

The State Department, which concluded public hearings on the proposal on Friday, has the authority to approve or reject the proposal because the pipeline originates in a foreign country.

(Reporting and writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (4)
oi812 wrote:
let’s just have Canada put the pipeline to the Pacific and ship the oil to China along with our coal. If Obama get reelected this is what will happen. Lets save the court cost

Oct 07, 2011 8:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
taxepayer21 wrote:
send it to the Dakotas, dont they have a refiner?

Oct 08, 2011 12:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Hugh45 wrote:
Here’s a novel idea… instead of runninig a pipeline through the middle of the US all the way down to the Gulf. why not build a refinery or two in North or South Dakota…Haven’t they found oil up there in those states as well.. Then they can process the oil up there.. and ship it back to Cananda and threw out the US from there.

Oct 08, 2011 12:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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