TransCanada issued a press release (Sept. 5, 9:30am) stating they have submitted a new route to the NE DEQ. The route still crosses vulnerable sandy soil and Ogallala Aquifer.
Background on next steps for pipeline state and federal process, click here.
Map showing the vulnerable areas and counties to contamination in Nebraska, click here or scroll below.
Map of TransCanada's new route, click here or scroll below.
Summary report from TransCanada to NE DEQ, click here, to see TransCanada's full report go to https://ecmp.nebraska.gov/deq-seis/PubDocSearch.aspx and choose "reports"--it is a document broken into more than 20 files.
For landowners who might now be in the route, click here for info on your legal rights.
More background on route, click here.
Comments by Jane Kleeb (for more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-705-3622):
The new route still risks our land, water and property rights. The new route still crosses high water tables, sandy soil which leads to higher vulnerability of contamination and still crosses the Ogallala Aquifer, the lifeblood of Nebraska's economy.
We will not allow middle American to be the middle man for a foreign tarsands pipeline wanting to export their extreme form of energy to the highest bidder.
If there is a lesson for citizens and landowners, it is to keep speaking out loud and clear because TransCanada moves away from communities that oppose their risky pipeline. So, let's keep speaking out until they are out of our state all together.
It's time for every candidate and elected officials to stand up for our land, water and property rights and tell TransCanada to get back to the drawing board. Give us a route that over 65% of Nebraskans have asked for--one that avoids the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer, something Gov. Heineman asked President Obama to do and that we are asking TransCanada to honor.
Since the route still crosses the Aquifer, Gov. Heineman must ask the President to deny the permit again until the route avoids the Aquifer and Sandhills, just like he did last year in a letter to the President.
TransCanada continues to say they listen to citizens and landowners, yet if they did they would have truly revised their route 3 years ago instead of spending over $600,000 lobbying our elected officials and threatening them that if they had to change the route it would kill their project and that state laws some were trying to get passed were not legal.
We can not trust TransCanada to treat landowners fairly and we cannot trust TransCanada to treat our natural resources--especially our water the backbone of our state economy--fairly either.
Comments by Allied Groups
Joe Mendelson, National Wildlife Federation climate and energy policy director said, “The reason TransCanada needs to keep rerouting the Keystone XL map is because it’s just a bad idea. Each new map amounts to a catalog of which property owners will suffer, and what habitat will be placed at risk. The best approach is to ditch Keystone XL entirely and embrace clean energy solutions that don’t spill or explode.” For more information, visit NWF's Keystone XL page.
The NE DEQ has no siting authority according to LB 1161. What they have authority to do is only review the pipeline, hold a public hearing and give their findings to Gov. Heineman. He will then approve or deny the route and send that to the State Department.
The US State Department will still conduct their own environmental review of the pipeline. It is important to note that the State Dept. has no siting authority, that is a state-by-state law that has to be put on the books. This was a major victory for Bold and other groups when a federal memo confirmed this basic fact because TransCanada was telling our state officials they legally could not put forth state laws.
The lawsuit challenging LB 1161 gets the first hearing on Sept. 14th in Lancaster County court. If that lawsuit is successful, TransCanada could have to go through the process that all other oil pipelines must follow--the Major Oil Pipeline Siting law and rules established by Nebraska's Public Service Commission.
Bold Nebraska and partner groups include landowner rights group NEAT, Farmers Union and Sierra Club will all hold landowner and citizen education sessions for folks to learn their property rights, eminent domain and risks to the health and safety of communities when dealing with a tarsands pipeline.
The pipeline still crosses the Niobrara river, the Platte river and the Verdigre creek watershed--as well as countless family wells and areas that cattle drink directly from the Aquifer.