Nebraska Governor Approves New Keystone XL Pipeline Route

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A day after President Barack Obama highlighted climate change in his inauguration speech, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, approved the new route through the state for the contested Keystone XL pipeline wending its way through the U.S. from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

A decision on the 1,711-mile-long, $7 billion project was originally postponed until after the U.S. Presidential election partly because of tribal and environmentalists’ objections to the passage of the pipeline through the Sand Hills, an ecologically sensitive area.

The new route skirts the Sand Hills, but those opposing the pipeline, which already goes through Illinois and Oklahoma, have not changed their stance because it still runs through the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies water for irrigation and other uses to the Great Plains states, according to Reuters.

Heineman’s move on January 22 puts the onus on Obama, leaving the final decision completely in his hands, The New York Times reported. Obama’s administration told Reuters on January 22 that it will not make a decision before the end of March.

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