OMAHA, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said his company was pleased with land developments in Nebraska, though nearly 25 percent of landowners are not leasing.
TransCanada needs agreements from roughly 115 landowners whose property the planned Keystone XL pipeline would cross in Nebraska. That represents 23 percent of the 500 landowners who would be affected by the cross-border pipeline, the Omaha (Neb.) World Herald reported Monday
"We're pleased with the progress we've made," Howard told the newspaper.
Critics of Keystone XL worry about the long-term effects of a pipeline designed to carry Canada's heavier grade of crude oil. That type of crude recovered from oil sands is seen as more corrosive and therefore more likely to lead to pipeline spills.
TransCanada was forced to reconsider the route through Nebraska to allay concerns about the threat to the state's aquifer.
"Our landowners are stubborn and independent, which is good," Jane Kleeb, director of Keystone XL critic Bold Nebraska, was quoted as saying.
Keystone XL needs federal approval as a cross-border pipeline. President Obama said he'd weight the project against its environmental footprint.
TransCanada submitted its application to the U.S. government more than five years ago. Supporters say the pipeline would provide a source of economic stimulus and energy security.