Premier Alison Redford is applauding Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s decision to allow TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to bisect the state.
“We were pleased to see the governor carefully reviewed a state report that concluded environmental concerns were minimal, economic benefits to his state were high and that a pipeline carrying oilsands crude should not be treated differently than any other crude,” she said in a press release.
The new pipeline route will not cross Nebraska’s environmentally fragile Sandhills region, though it will still cross the Ogallala aquifer, which irrigates roughly 27 per cent of American crops. Many have expressed fears that a pipeline leak could contaminate the aquifer.
Governor Heineman has strenuously opposed the Keystone XL pipeline until now, but with his approval he promised Nebraskans that spills would be localized and TransCanada would be responsible for clean-ups.
In addition, he pointed out the project would generate $418 million in economic benefits for the state.
Redford added, “We respect and understand that approval of the pipeline is a U.S. domestic matter and that this is just one step in the process that will ultimately be decided by the president.”
Stefan Baranski, director of strategic communications for the Office of the Premier, says Heineman and Redford did discuss Keystone XL while both attended the Western Governors conference in Arizona in December 2012.
In October 2012, Jane Kleeb of pipeline opposition group Bold Nebraska told Fast Forward Weekly, “TransCanada spent $600,000 lobbying our 49 part-time state senators in one year. That is a lot of money for state senators who never get that much pressure, and so, yeah, money certainly matters. There’s just no question about it.”