Governor Heineman Approves Keystone Pipeline - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Governor Heineman Calls on President to Support Keystone Pipeline

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Meghan McRoberts

OMAHA (KPTM)-

In a letter to President Obama, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has asked Obama to support the Transcanada Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, projected to travel through Nebraska down to Texas.

This comes after Heineman called for Obama not to support the pipeline last year, with concerns that it might hurt the environment. The pipeline was first designed to run through the sand hills in Nebraska, and through the Ogallala aquifer.

A re-routed design takes the pipeline farther east than before, but still draws concern for many Nebraskans.

"We don't have the benefit of research to prove any safety," said Ben Gotschall with Bold Nebraska, an organization against the Pipeline.

Gotschall said the Governor reviewed an analysis of the pipeline, prepared with numbers gathered by Transcanada that may have been reflected in favor of the pipeline.

"I don't think Governor Heineman was able to fully evaluate the report, said Gotschall."

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Report is thousands of pages long, with information regarding the effect of the pipeline on the environment.

Gotschall says few local experts of the aquifer were involved in contributing to the report.

One University of Nebraska professor did his own study with Transcanada's numbers. Dr. John Stansbury says he expected oil spills to be larger and more frequent than Transcanada projected.

"In a large degree, my study has gone farther than the study that was done," said Stansbury. "In my opinion, the documents that were available were fairly inadequate and very misleading."

On the other hand, some local economists say the pipeline could bring thousands of jobs to Nebraska, and upwards of billions of dollars to the economy.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom spokesperson Doug Kagan says the pipeline may also give some property tax relief to farmers near the pipeline.

"Our nation has a splendid opportunity to become more energy independent with this pipeline," said Kagan. "They don't really have any hardcore evidence to prove that the pipeline is really dangerous."

There is no set deadline yet as to when President Obama will make a decision

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