KXL hearings continue with questions about alternative route

The Nebraska Public Service Commission met again on Tuesday to dicuss the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Photo by Ben Bohall)
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August 8, 2017 - 8:00pm

Hearings on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline route through Nebraska continued yesterday in an effort to decide whether to reject or reroute it.

TransCanada officials and landowners testified before the Nebraska Public Service Commission and were questioned by lawyers on a range of issues, from agricultural impact to an alternative route for the line.

Landowner attorney Brian Jorde asked TransCanada environmental regulatory expert Jon Schmidt about the potential impact of the heat generated in the pipeline:

“Keystone does not anticipate any significant overall effect to crops and vegetation associated with heat generated by the operating pipeline. Is that correct?" asked Jorde.

"That’s correct," responded Schmidt.

"And is there a glossary where the word significant is defined anywhere in section 13?" Jorde asked.

"No,” Schmidt said.

Lawyers continued to grill officials over the possibility of rerouting the pipeline from the company’s preferred course to a mainline alternative route. Landowner lawyer Dave Domina questioned TransCanada engineer Meera Kothari about how much input TransCanada had from Nebraska state agencies in identifying their preferred route.

“Am I right that since the filing date, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Department of Revenue, Nebraska Department of Roads, and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have not been asked to perform any evaluation on the proposed route?” Domina asked.

“Not by TransCanada,” responded Kothari.

The night concluded with testimony from landowners citing concerns about possible damage to their property with pipeline construction. The rest of this week’s hearings will include testimonies from Bold Nebraska, Sierra Club, the Ponca and Sioux Tribes, and labor unions.



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