The State Department is considering whether to try to move part of the route for Keystone XL away from a key groundwater aquifer in Nebraska that supplies drinking water for more than 1 million people, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman had said he'd green light the project if the route were moved, but any related action by the State Department could trigger another environmental review. That, in turn, could delay a final decision on Keystone XL until after the 2012 presidential election.
Pipeline company TransCanada wants to build the oil pipeline to carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, to Texas oil refineries. Advocates say the project is good for the economy and energy security, while opponents say it isn't worth the environmental risks.
Russ Girling, TransCanada's chief executive, was quoted by the Journal as saying any delays might spell the end to the project because of time limits on existing contracts.
"How long will those customers wait for Canadian crude oil to get to the marketplace before they sort of throw up their hands and say this is just never going to happen?" he asked.
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