The much-maligned Keystone XL pipeline project proposed by Transcanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) today received a go-ahead from the state of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality. The state’s governor, Republican Dave Heineman, now has 30 days to make a final recommendation to the federal government on whether or not the state supports construction of the 900,000-barrel per day, 1,700-mile long pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. State Department is also reviewing the plan because the pipeline crosses an international border and is expected to issue its own environmental recommendation on the pipeline by the end of the first quarter of 2013. The Obama administration rejected the pipeline route early in 2012, but the latest proposal offers a re-routing of the pipeline to avoid ecologically sensitive areas in Nebraska’s Sand Hills region and shallow groundwater areas in the northern part of the state.
The states of Montana and South Dakota have already approved the proposed pipeline route through those states, and Nebraska’s approval is the last remaining. There have been some protests against the pipeline in Texas, but Transcanada has received all necessary permits and is in the processing of completing a connection to the storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma.