Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved the revised route of the Keystone XL pipeline through his state. The governor sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, notifying them of the accepted Nebraska route.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s evaluation of the 194.5-mile proposed pipeline reroute determined that:
The proposed reroute avoids the Sand Hills but would cross the High Plains Aquifer, including the Ogallala Group. Impacts on aquifers from a release should be localized, and Keystone would be responsible for any cleanup.
The reroute avoids many areas of fragile soils.
The reroute avoids a shallow groundwater area upgradient (west) of the boundary of the Clarks Wellhead Protection Area, where the aquifer is thin, wells are shallow, and bedrock is close to the surface.
Affected agricultural operations could resume the season after the completion of construction.
Construction would result in $418.1 million in economic benefit.
The project would generate $16.5 million in use taxes.
Annual local property tax revenues, for the first full year of valuation, would be between $11-13 million.
Construction and operation of the pipeline would have minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska.
Keystone would be responsible for developing and Emergency Response Plan for a product release associated with the operation of the pipeline and ancillary facilities. In the event of a spill, appropriate authorities would have timely access to product characteristics.
Keystone would have financial and regulatory responsibility for any spill associated with the pipeline.
TransCanada has also provided assurances to the state that the company would implement a number of mitigation measures, including:
The Emergency Response Plan;
Fast access to the product's Material Safety Data Sheet in the event of a release;
Providing, at landowner request, baseline water well testing prior to construction for domestic and livestock wells within 300 feet of the centerline of the route;
Providing for an independent public employee to act as a liaison between Keystone and landowners, local communities and residents;
Adhering to 57 special safety conditions, including more rigorous pipeline design, manufacturing, construction, records and reporting, testing, operational, and maintenance standards developed in coordination with the US Dept. of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration;; and
In the event of a release, Keystone would be responsible for all costs associated with state and federal cleanup requirements,
Keystone will provide evidence that it is carrying $200 million in third-party liability insurance to cover cleanup costs for incidents in Nebraska.