State Dept eyes rerouting Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 9, 2011 1:30am EST

Demonstrators call for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House in Washington November 6, 2011. Protesters are unhappy about TransCanada Corp's plan to build the massive pipeline to transport crude from Alberta, Canada, to Texas. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Demonstrators call for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House in Washington November 6, 2011. Protesters are unhappy about TransCanada Corp's plan to build the massive pipeline to transport crude from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department is considering rerouting TransCanada Corp.'s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline to avoid ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The State Department has been weighing issues raised in public meetings and talks with officials in six states that would be affected "including whether to consider a rerouting of the Keystone XL pipeline away from an environmentally delicate area of Nebraska," the official said.

A decision to consider an alternative route would require an environmental impact study on the new segment of the pipeline, the official said. Such a move could delay a final decision on whether to go forward on the pipeline.

The State Department said last week that it still hoped to make a decision by the end of the year, but did not rule out delaying the decision if necessary.

Nebraska lawmakers are considering legislation to regulate the pipeline and possibly force TransCanada Corp to move its route away from the state's ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region and Ogallala aquifer, a major source of drinking and irrigation water for several states.

The State Department has the power to decide whether the TransCanada Corp's pipeline can go forward because the project crosses the national border.

President Barack Obama said last week that health and economic factors would be taken into account when his administration decides whether to approve the pipeline.

Obama's inclinations about the pipeline are being closely watched by environmentalists, who oppose the project, and proponents, who say it would create jobs.

If Nebraska succeeds in changing the route for the planned pipeline, the could delay the project.

"The State Department is committed to conducting a thorough, rigorous and transparent process that leads to a decision that is in the national interest, including if needed gathering and assessing additional information," a State Department official familiar with the process said.

The $7 billion project would take 700,000 barrels per day or more from Canada's oil sands in the province of Alberta through six states to refineries in Texas.

TransCanada said last month that it was too late in the federal approval process to move the proposed path for the line.

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (4)
afisher wrote:
In a moment of hilarity, just last week a TransCanada spokesperson call this very action “unconstitutional”.

Sort of makes a thinking person wonder how much money had already been spent to buy up private land around their proposed pipeline?

The emperor has no clothes!

Nov 09, 2011 9:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
YoungTurkArmy wrote:
Watch for waves of aneurysms breaking out in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa.

Nov 09, 2011 11:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
DrJJJJ wrote:
The pipeline is better than us dying/fighting for oil, transferring our wealth to terrorist and drilling in the gulf! Do we need the jobs? If we don’t they will and we’re more environmentally responsible (now) than third world countries! Truck sales in the US are number 1 -no chance of Americans backing off off oil use FYI-your’re dreaming! See ya at the Nascar fuel guzzling race! Note: we have plenty of our own oil if we’d just find the will to drill! Green substitutes are great, but they’re decades away from reality and Americans have too big of egos to change!

Nov 09, 2011 12:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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