TransCanada: Nebraska Evaluation Report on Keystone XL Re-Route Released

By: Courtesy: TransCanada
By: Courtesy: TransCanada

TransCanada Corporation is pleased that the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has issued its final evaluation report to Governor Dave Heineman on the proposed re-route of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

"This report is the culmination of a rigorous and comprehensive review by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, which included extensive public input gathered during a seven month public comment period. The re-route ensures Keystone XL will have minimal environmental impact by avoiding the area defined as the Nebraska Sandhills, crossing fewer miles of threatened and endangered species habitat and considerably fewer miles of erodible soils. It also moves the route to the down-slope side of two wellhead protection areas," said Russell Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "TransCanada has made it a priority to work with Nebraskans to identify the most appropriate route for this pipeline project and we look forward to hearing from Governor Heineman regarding this report."

After a preliminary review of the final evaluation report released Jan. 4, TransCanada notes the following important findings by the NDEQ:
-- The preferred route avoids the area that is defined as the Nebraska
Sandhills. This area was defined by state and other agencies in 2001 -
long before a pipeline was considered.
-- Construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to
have "minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska."
-- Construction of Keystone XL will result in $418.1 million in economic
benefits and support up to 4,560 new or existing jobs in Nebraska. The
project will generate $16.5 million in taxes from pipeline construction
materials and is expected to yield up to $13 million in local property
tax revenues in its first full year of valuation.
-- Normal operation of the pipeline is expected to have no effect on ground
or surface water quality or use along the pipeline route in Nebraska. In
the unlikely event of a spill from the pipeline, impacts on water
resources would be localized and would not impact the Ogallala Aquifer
as a whole.
-- TransCanada will implement a detailed Emergency Response Plan for
Keystone XL and is responsible for cleanup, remediation and compensation
related to oil released from the pipeline.
-- The 57 special conditions TransCanada has agreed to adopt for the
construction, operation and maintenance of Keystone XL will make it
safer than typical pipelines built in the U.S. and will result in "more
rigorous adherence to industry standards." The special conditions
include burying the pipeline deeper underground, installing a higher
number of data sensors and remote controlled shut-off valves and
increased inspections and maintenance. TransCanada will also use special
techniques to reduce disturbance and enhance pipeline safety near
wetlands, rivers, residential and commercial areas, steep terrain and
fragile soils.
-- The physical and chemical properties of crude oil transported in
Keystone XL will be similar to the light and heavy crude oils already
being transported safely in pipelines across the United States.
TransCanada will provide local emergency responders with Material Safety
Data Sheets for products contained in the pipeline immediately in the
event of a spill.

According to legislation adopted by the Nebraska State Legislature, the Governor has 30 days to review and provide a decision regarding the proposed re-route.

"Over the past year, support for Keystone XL has continued to grow in Nebraska and across the United States," added Girling. "Safety remains our top priority. We will maintain a Nebraska-based emergency preparedness program with a response team in place, ready to react should an incident occur. The safety of the entire pipeline is our responsibility for as long as it operates. It's a responsibility we take very seriously."

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