Nebraska Legislature begins Keystone XL session

Nebraska lawmakers began a special session on Tuesday to consider legislation that could affect regulation of TransCanada Corp.’s (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline and other pipeline projects that cross the state. Called by Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, the session takes place amid growing opposition in the state to Keystone XL, a project designed to increase oil imports to the U.S. from Canada. It is unclear as to what actions the Nebraska Legislature could take to change the route of the line. The project is in the final stages of over three years of review by the U.S. federal government. Gov. Heineman has called on TransCanada to modify the route of the USD 7 billion expansion to avoid the Sand Hills area and the underground Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies the state with water for drinking and agriculture. However, TransCanada says alternative routes would result in more environmental damage; last month, they also offered to add safety features to the line where it crosses the Sand Hills area. The Nebraska special session will last a minimum of seven days but could extend longer, with public hearings beginning next week.

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