TransCanada’s revised Keystone XL Pipeline Nebraska route has been added to the Keystone Mapping Project. While there are several alternative routes being proposed, only data for the preferred route has been released. It has been added to both the Google Earth and Google Map views.
The new route avoids the designated Sandhills area but continues to impinge upon the Sandhills landscape and cross the Ogallala Aquifer. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) is conducting a series of meetings concerning the new route and hosting documents on their website. Bold Nebraska is very involved in landowner rights and community organization around the Keystone XL.
While the route information shown on the Keystone Mapping Project comes from the Nebraska DEQ, the water and gas wells locations (view on Google Earth) come from the Final Environmental Impact Statement published on the Department of State website. Visitors to KMP will notice that, in many cases, water and gas well routes, chiefly in Nebraska and North Dakota, do not follow the Keystone route. These well locations follow alternate routes TransCanada is considering.
According to TransCanada’s Nebraska Reroute Report (click to download), the Keystone XL is a fait accompli. To quote the report:
In January 2012, the DOS announced its determination that the project – as presented and analyzed at that time – did not serve the national interest. The determination was based not on the merits of the project, but on the rationale that the time provided by Congress for a decision was not adequate to complete the National Interest review of the project. Specifically, the DOS stated that there was insufficient time to develop and assess information regarding alternative pipeline routes in Nebraska.
Thus, according to TransCanada, Congress feels the merits of the Keystone XL are sound, they simply haven’t had the chance to fully assess it.
The TransCanada document, dated April 18. 2012, also states that the Nebraska legislature authorized NDEQ to review alternative Sandhills routes on April 11. It should not surprise readers that, with the speed at which these documents are published (one week in this case), basic information by which to make a proper evaluation is missing.
In the case of the Nebraska reroute, the proposed corridors are 2,000 feet wide – over one-third of a mile wide (By comparison, the proposed Montana corridor is 500 feet wide). With that amount of latitude it is difficult to understand how landowners are to determine if they are subject to the right away, let alone where the pipeline will cross their property. Further, how is the community to determine impacts if they can’t pinpoint the route?