The Nebraska governor backed the new Keystone XL pipeline plan Tuesday. A decision by President Obama about the proposal is expected to receive heavy criticism either way.
In just the first week of his second term, President Obama is being confronted with what could become one of the most controversial decisions of his presidency: what do with the Keystone XL pipeline.
Mr. Obama put off the decision twice, citing concerns that the 1,700-mile pipeline extensions present environmental safety concerns in Nebraska. The original plans had it stretching along the Ogallala Aquifer, an underground water supply that is the greatest irrigation source to US farmland, supplying eight states. Sixty-five percent of the aquifer is in Nebraska, which makes the state ground zero in the debate over the pipeline.
The president ultimately blocked the pipeline’s approval in January 2012, which then allowed TransCanada, the operator based in Calgary, Alberta, to draft a new proposal in May.
On Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R), who previously hesitated at approving the project, sent Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a letter saying he is now satisfied with the pipeline’s new routing. The potential environmental risks, he says, are lessened.
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