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