Nebraska legislators objected to the original proposal by TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. The company proposed an alternative route that avoids Nebraska's Sand Hills area, which includes a major aquifer.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, in a 68-page report, found the alternative route meets state requirements in avoiding the Sand Hills area. The DEQ, however, said "there are areas along the proposed corridor where fragile soils and aquifer protection are concerns."
The department said the new Keystone XL corridor crosses areas that are technically outside the Sand Hills region but contain fragile soil structures that have "surface features very similar to the Sand Hills."
Keystone XL, as currently proposed, would run approximately 854 miles from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb. There, it would connect to the existing Keystone oil pipeline that runs to a key trading hub in Cushing, Okla. TransCanada is moving forward with construction of the associated Gulf Coast Project, which would extend to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.
The NDEQ said it was expecting an environmental report on the rerouted proposal by August. TransCanada didn't have a public comment on the NDEQ report.