A major hurdle in the Keystone XL Pipeline was cleared Tuesday when Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved an alternate route that will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of the state.
The Associated Press reports that the governor sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling them he would allow the project to go through Nebraska.
In a statement, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) urged Obama to approve the pipeline project. Hoeven and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) organized a bipartisan letter signed by 18 senators, nine Republicans and nine Democrats.
“The president has long-cited Nebraska’s concerns as a reason not to approve the project, but now that those concerns have been addressed, there is no reason to further delay a project that will create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity for the United States,” Hoeven said. “After more than four-and-a half-years and an exhaustive review process, it’s time to come together, Republicans and Democrats, and do what is clearly in our national interest.”
Hoeven added he is now in the process of collecting signatures for a second bipartisan letter, calling on Obama to approve the project without any further delay. He’s also planning legislation to allow Congress to approve the pipeline if Obama does not.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) has signed the bipartisan letter to Obama, continuing her support of the pipeline. She commended the governor for approval of the revised route, also calling for the Obama administration to move forward.
“In North Dakota, we know that the Keystone XL Pipeline means American jobs, increased energy security and the certainty that comes from dealing with our neighbors to the north,” Heitkamp said. “It is imperative that we seek to improve our energy infrastructure in order to take full advantage of the robust energy development in North America, and the Keystone Pipeline is one way to do that. This pipeline has already been subjected to an incredibly exhaustive review process, so I hope the president will move swiftly now that concerns about a route through Nebraska are no longer an impediment.”