State Department hears full day of comments from Keystone XL supporters, opponents

Apr 18, 2013

Several hundred people weighed in on the Keystone XL pipeline project at a day-long public hearing Thursday in Grand Island.

A permit for the 1,700 mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline was denied in January 2012, after concerns arose about TransCanada’s proposed route across much of western Nebraska’s Sandhills region. In January, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman approved a Final Evaluation Report after TransCanada introduced an alternate route.

Thursday’s hearing was the only one scheduled on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the State Department last month.

Union and business representatives supporting the Keystone XL project hailed it as a safe, state-of-the-art pipeline that’ll create jobs and boost domestic production of energy.

Opponents from as far away as Arkansas, Texas, and Wisconsin criticized the findings in the State Department’s report. Some cited the damage caused by an oil pipeline rupture late last month in Mayflower, Arkansas. The 22-foot-long rupture caused 5,000 barrels of crude oil to spill.

The State Department is taking public comments on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement through Monday. After that, revisions will be made and a final Statement issued.