CHADRON COUNCIL DECLINES TO TAKE POSITION ON KEYSTONE XL

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

The Chadron City Council has decided not to take a formal position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, whose proposed route crosses the eastern half of Nebraska from north to south.

Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation Executive Director Deb Cottier as the council Monday night to approve letters supporting the Keystone XL for its economic development impact, but after a brief discussion the council members declined to introduction a resolution or motion on the pipeline.

Mayor Karin Fischer says she and the other council members didn’t feel they knew about about the details of the Keystone XL project to take a position pro or con, and also didn’t feel Chadron residents had been given any time to make their feelings known on the project.

The request for letters of support to Governor Dave Heineman, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and President Obama came from the Heartland Expressway Association and Ports to Plains Association, which made similar requests of all the Panhandle communities. The Gering city council approved the letters last week.

The Keystone XL will run some 1,700-miles from the oil sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, but requires a federal permit since it would cross an international border.

President Obama rejected the permit application from developer TransCanada back in January, citing in part questions about the route in Nebraska…which would have crossed the environmentally-sensitive Sandhills…but encouraged the company to reapply with a new route.

A special session of the Nebraska legislature just over a year ago resulted in a compromise that saw TransCanada agree to find a new route around the Sandhills and the state agree to do the environmental review on that route as part of the permit process on both the state and federal levels.

The state’s draft study found that the new route avoids the environmentally sensitive areas and that TransCanada’s overall proposal meets the other concerns and requirements laid out by the state.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing tonight in Albion to take input from both supporters and opponents before submitting the final version of the review to Governor Dave Heineman, who has the final say on approving the Nebraska portion of pipeline.