Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE) late Thursday received the Final Evaluation Report of the Keystone Nebraska Reroute from Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). Per state law, the Governor now has up to 30 days to review the more than 2,000-page report.
Gov. Heineman called the Unicameral into Special Session in 2011 to address pipeline issues. In the 2011 Special Session, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 4, which authorized the NDEQ to review the rerouted portion of the proposed pipeline in Nebraska. LB 4 was approved by the Governor on November 22, 2011. However, President Obama denied the Presidential Permit in January 2012 and subsequently NDEQ halted active review of the pipeline.
The proposed Nebraska Reroute avoids the Sand Hills but would cross the High Plains Aquifer, including the Ogallala Group. Impacts on aquifers from a release would be localized and Keystone would be responsible for any cleanup.
The proposed route avoids a shallow groundwater area upgradient (west) of the boundary of the Clarks Wellhead Protection Area, where the aquifer is thin, wells are shallow, and bedrock is close to the surface.
This route would also avoid many areas of fragile soils in Northern Nebraska.