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Taking shape: Wide range of testimony about XL pipelineTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image
Pipeline routes. The green route is the current proposed route. The yellow route is a possibility. The red route was the original proposal and is no longer under consideration. (click or tap on map to enlarge)

Testimony from landowners, labor unions and environmental groups will be heard this summer regarding the route of the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska.

On Friday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission agreed to hear from numerous “interveners” in the process, including 93 landowners, a handful of environmental advocates and two native American tribes.

The PSC will review the routes to determine if it is in the public interest.

Two routes will be considered for the pipeline – a route now preferred by TransCanada, east of the original route through the Sandhills, as well as an alternative route that is nearer to an existing Keystone pipeline through eastern Nebraska.

In making a determination, the PSC is expressly forbidden by state law from evaluating safety considerations, including the risk or impact of spills or leaks from the pipeline.

However, the PSC must consider intrusion upon natural resources (not related to safety issues), as well as the economic and social impacts of the pipeline, and whether any other utility corridor exists that could feasibly and beneficially be used for the route.

The commission encourages all interveners to weigh in on the feasibility and potential benefits and/or drawbacks of the routes.

The preparation for the public hearing includes preliminary public meetings along the route, culminating with the hearing in mid-July.

Unions that will testify include the Laborers International Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry.

Also, these environmental and social protection groups will be heard -- Bold Alliance, the Nebraska Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

A notice of the order, as well as the applications by the interveners, is available at KXL Pipeline Information on the PSC website. 

According to the timeline, the PSC will make a decision on the pipeline in September, or no later than November if more time is needed.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/1/2017
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