NDEQ Receives Pipeline Route Corridor Report from TransCanada
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality announced that TransCanada has submitted a report to the agency that assesses alternative routing corridors for the Nebraska Keystone XL pipeline. NDEQ has posted this information on their web site, along with a summary of next steps in the review process, and related information. The web site also provides the public the ability to submit comments and view documents related to this state review.
NDEQ Director Mike Linder said that the state review process can now occur, following the passage of LB1161, which became effective on April 18, 2012. This legislation provides NDEQ the authority to review major oil pipeline projects proposed in the state which will be included in a federal agency environmental review. One major component of the review will be public access to information.
“Public participation will be important throughout this review, and NDEQ will make every effort to provide information and invite comment throughout the process,” Linder said. “There will be a number of ways to review and comment through live meetings, internet comments or through the mail.”
Next steps in the process
Linder said that the agency will soon announce times and dates of a series of public information meetings, which will be held in the proposed route area. NDEQ will provide the public with information on the review process, and the public will be able to examine the proposed route corridor information submitted by TransCanada.
After these information sessions are completed, NDEQ will provide initial feedback to TransCanada. TransCanada would then finalize the route that it wants to have evaluated by the state, and will conduct more in-depth and on-the-ground definition of the proposed route. NDEQ and its contractor, HDR Engineering, will then evaluate the route through a review process that would satisfy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. The draft report that is developed by NDEQ will be posted on the agency web site for public review.
After the draft report is made public, NDEQ will announce a public hearing date. Following the public hearing and review of public comments, NDEQ will develop a final evaluation report, which will be presented to the Governor. This information will also be posted on NDEQ’s web site. The Governor will decide whether he approves the route reviewed in the state’s final report, and transmit this decision to any federal agencies involved in the approval of the pipeline.
The report and related information is now on-line at https://ecmp.nebraska.gov/deq-seis/ The report contains several maps describing alternatives evaluated by TransCanada, with the preferred route identified on a map on page 31.
At that location, the public can also submit comments to NDEQ, review documents related to the project, and view other background materials. There is also a link to this information on the main page of NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov/.