By: Bill Schammert
Many of those opposed to the new Keystone XL pipeline route are calling the recent Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality report a joke.
"The DEQ report reads as if TransCanada is simply transporting milk and honey and landowners who rely on the aquifer for drinking water and the ag economy have nothing to worry about," BOLD Nebraska executive director, Jane Kleeb, said.
One major question was whether or not the new route would still go through the Ogallala Aquifer. The report says it does, but that any oil spills would be contained to a small area.
"I think there was a perception there would be a very large region impacted if there was a spill," NDEQ director, Mike Linder, said. "And we didn't find that to be the case."
The report gave no recommendation either way, but says a possible spill would only affect a few hundred feet.
Property owners disagree, saying proper research was not done.
"I came to the conclusion that no matter what mitigation measures are agreed to in this NDEQ report, there's still no state level of oversight and no consequences or fines for TransCanada," Susan Dunavan said.
The new route would go directly through Dunavan's land.
As for the economic impacts, the report says the pipeline would support more than 4,500 Nebraska jobs and bring in about $420 million annually.
The governor has less than 30 days to make a final recommendation to the U.S. State Department.
President Obama then has the final say.