The pipeline's revised route

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Chris Woodward (

A public hearing over the revised route of the Keystone XL pipeline is planned for today in Nebraska.

The hearing comes ahead of a final decision by Governor Dave Heineman as to whether the revised route avoids an "ecologically sensitive" area of Nebraska. Heineman has spoken out in favor of the pipeline in the past.

Loris, Nick (Heritage)Nick Loris, an economist focusing on energy, environmental and regulatory issues with The Heritage Foundation, believes the governor will give his approval for the project.

"I would guess yes, although I never want to speculate what's going to happen," Loris comments. "But at the same time, after the Keystone XL pipeline permit was originally rejected, Nebraska officials were publicly for the pipeline, so long as it met their needs. The fact that they're rerouting the pipeline should suffice for meeting their needs. They've always wanted to build the pipeline; they just wanted to make sure their citizens' concerns were taken care of."

Following his reelection, rumors began swirling that President Obama would approve the pipeline. At that time, Loris believed the rumors were true. But, the fact that the president has catered to his constituencies before, and that he does not have to face another election means he can really do whatever he wants to make whomever he wants happy.

A recent editorial in The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, admits that some of the concerns about a pipeline carrying Canadian bitumen are "valid," but it calls on President Obama to approve the pipeline nonetheless.

The Keystone XL pipeline was proposed in 2008, but President Obama rejected a GOP proposal to fast-track approval in January 2012, citing "the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people."

However, a State Department environmental impact report in August 2011 stated that the pipeline would pose "no significant impacts" to most resources if environmental protection measures are followed, while also acknowledging the pipeline would present "significant adverse effects to certain cultural resources." The State Department postponed a final decision in November 2011.

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