For the first time since President Obama issued a controversial order halting its progress, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is once again on track for bureaucratic review after TransCanada submitted a new route through Nebraska designed to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.
The new plan, which TransCanada submitted to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality on Wednesday, takes the Keystone project out of the deep freeze that began in January when Obama agreed with the recommendation of the State Department to reject the initial pipeline application.
That federal approval is necessary because the pipeline, which will originate in Alberta, Canada, must cross the border for oil to reach gulf coast refineries.
Environmentalists, already disposed to fight oil production, focused on concerns that the pipeline would harm Nebraska’s sensitive Sand Hills region. The formal effort by TransCanada and Nebraska officials to find a new route officially stopped with the president’s January announcement. This past week, state law makers in Nebraska approved legislation allowing for the review process to resume.