NDEQ Announces Agency Project Manager for Pipeline Review;
Outside Consultant Selected to Assist Agency
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Director Mike Linder has announced the selection of the agency’s project manager and an outside consultant who will assist the agency in the review and analysis of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed new route for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
Linder announced that he has selected Pat Rice, who also serves as the Division Administrator for NDEQ’s Water Quality Division, to take the lead in managing the state’s review of the proposed pipeline project.
“Pat has extensive experience in water quality issues, including work related with environmental impact statements,” Linder said. “He is assembling an internal team, and has led the selection of an external consultant to assist the agency in our efforts.”
Linder and Rice announced that they have selected HDR Engineering, Inc. as the consultant who will assist the agency in carrying out the pipeline review process.
Background on NDEQ’s New Responsibilities
On November 22, 2011, Gov. Dave Heineman signed LB4 into law, which provides new responsibilities to NDEQ relating to supplemental environmental impact statements involving oil pipelines. The first application of the new law will be the development of a supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
The legislation assigns NDEQ to work with the U.S. Department of State throughout the review. NDEQ has begun negotiations with the U.S. Department of State to establish a Memorandum of Understanding detailing how NDEQ’s environmental review process will fit into the federal review process.
Selection Process for Environmental Consultant
Soon after the legislation was enacted, NDEQ requested qualifications from several firms who do work in Nebraska. Each provided a full disclosure of all current and past activities with TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, described professional experience with the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and presented qualifications to prepare the supplemental document.
HDR Engineering, Inc. was selected to perform the work. The global engineering firm was founded 94 years ago in Omaha and is still headquartered there today. HDR is a recognized leader in environmental services, including NEPA environmental impact statements. Of its 7,800 employees, more than 750 are in Nebraska. NDEQ will manage all phases of the environmental review process and will be responsible for every aspect of the review, including all guidance and direction to HDR.
TransCanada initially proposed a route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills, but has stated that they intend to propose a new route that avoids this region. Specific details of the new route have not yet been provided to NDEQ.
A plan for public involvement will be forthcoming. Check the NDEQ website for more information at: http://deq.ne.gov/ and select the headline “NDEQ’s Role in Pipeline Review”, or follow the direct URL to: