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Nebraska takes step closer to Keystone XL

April 6, 2012 at 6:40 AM

LINCOLN, Neb., April 6 (UPI) -- At least one public hearing is scheduled in Nebraska for the Keystone XL pipeline before a route is determined, a state proposal says.

Nebraska lawmakers last week, by a 35-to-2 vote, approved a preliminary measure that would let TransCanada move ahead with a $2 million study to find a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the state.

Following a second round of debates, the proposal calls on pipeline company TransCanada to reimburse the state for a study for the planned route and open that route to public debate through Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality, the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reports.

Nebraska last year objected to a proposal from TransCanada to build Keystone XL to carry oil sands from Canada through the state's Sandhills, an area containing the Ogallala Aquifer. The White House rejected a permit for entire Keystone XL project because it said Republican-backed legislation didn't give Nebraska enough time for review.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has final say on the route and the decision to grant TransCanada eminent domain on the project in his state.

Bold Nebraska, a group opposing the project because of the potential environmental consequences of oil sands, said "money wins" when it comes to matters of the state.

"TransCanada's demands and power over our state senators means landowner's property rights, water concerns and a transparent process to certify oil pipeline routes are now out the window," the group said.

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