The Canadian firm behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will reapply Friday for a federal permit to ship crude oil from the oil sands fields of Alberta to the United States, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.
In January, the Obama administration denied a permit to TransCanada, the firm that would build the project, on the grounds that a congressionally mandated deadline of Feb. 21 did not give officials enough time to evaluate the pipeline’s impact. Since then, TransCanada has said it would proceed with plans to construct a segment that did not require a presidential permit — from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Tex.
The company also unveiled a new route for the pipeline through Nebraska. President Obama, environmentalists and many Nebraskans — including the state’s Republican governor, Dave Heineman — had raised concerns that the project’s original route could imperil Nebraska’s ecologically sensitive Sandhills region, as well as the Ogallala aquifer, a major source of drinking water for state residents.
The new route would steer clear of the Sandhills region, although it still runs over parts of the Ogallala aquifer. Environmentalists say that Nebraska officials have defined the Sandhills region too narrowly and that the revised route will traverse the Sandhills in Nebraska’s northern Holt County.
The Keystone pipeline project, a point of contention between environmentalists and some labor unions, has divided the Democratic base. It has unified Republicans behind what they contend is a critical source of energy for the United States. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, along with GOP congressional leaders, have called on Obama to approve the pipeline.
Read more at The Washington Post.