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Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments on National Interest Review, Mar., 2014

Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments to US State Department on Environmental Review, Apr. 2013

Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments on NDEQ assessment of re-route.

Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments on Keystone XL National Interest

Dr. Stansbury Report on likelihood, extent of potential spill SUMMARY

Dr. Stansbury Report on likelihood, extent of potential pipeline spill FULL REPORT

Nebraska Wildlife Federation Comments on KeystoneXL SDEIS

Nebraska Wildlife Federation letter to Secy Clinton May, 2011

Congressional Research Service Report on state responsibilities for pipeline

Nebraska Wildlife Federation letter to Secy Clinton, Dec. 2010

Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments on Draft EIS, July, 2010


National Wildlife Federation comments on Draft EIS, July 2010


NWF Fact Sheet: Keystone XL Pipeline


Nebraska Wildlife Federation Public Policy Work

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● Water Quality


The Keystone XL Pipeline

Nebraska Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation are working together with many other organizations to educate the public about important problems with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry diluted tar sands bitumen from Alberta, Canada, through Nebraska, to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. 


Tar sands oil is one of the most carbon-intensive and environmentally damaging sources of oil, and the pipeline could add to climate change problems and put at risk Nebraska wetlands, rivers, wildlife and groundwater sources.


In Nebraska...


In March, 2014, Nebraska Wildlife Federation and Western Nebraska Resources Council filed comments with the US State Department, explaining why the serious implications for wildlife, Nebraska rivers, climate change and other natural resources meant the proposed pipeline was not in the national interest. Read our comments here...


In December, 2012, Nebraska Wildlife Federation told the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality that its assessment of the Keystone XL proposed re-route falls short of assessing and mitigating the potential problems for water and wildlife. More here... The NDEQ published its final assessment in January, 2013.


On November 22, 2011, the Nebraska Legislature adjourned a Special Session called by Governor Dave Heineman after enacting two new laws that deal with petroleum pipelines.


LB 4 provides new authority and $2 million to the Department of Environmental Quality to review the proposed new route of the Keystone XL pipeline. LB 1 gives the Public Service Commission responsibility over the route of new petroleum pipelines. Both bills were enacted after Speaker Mike Flood announced an agreement under which TransCanada agreed to re-route the proposed Keystone XL pipeline around the fragile Nebraska Sandhills.  


In Washington DC...


In January, 2014, the US State Department issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the project. We disagree with some of the report's conclusions, because we think it underestimated the potential impact on wildlife and natural resources. The Department recommended neither approval nor disapproval of the TransCanada's permit in the report.


On April 22, 2013, the comment period closed on the US State Department draft supplemental environmental impact statement of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. See the Federation comments here.


In March, 2013, Nebraska Wildlife Federation joined National Wildlife Federation and many others in asking the Department of Transportation to craft new pipeline safety rules to respond to shortcomings in current rules identified by a National Transportation Safety Board report. See the petition here.


On December 23, 2011, the House and Senate reached agreement on a payroll tax extension bill that includes a special provision requiring that the Obama Administration make a final decision on whether to issue the federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days. The Obama Administration, citing an inability to reach a decision before the environmental review was completed under federal, rejected the TransCanada application. TransCanada then split the pipeline project into two, moving ahead with the southern portion (which now required no State Department review) and filing a new application on the northern portion, still dubbed "Keystone XL".


On November 10, 2011, the State Department announced a delay in the process until early 2013 to allow it to undertake an in-depth assessment of alternative routes in Nebraska. State Department officials said it would be very difficult for them to approve the permit without proper review.


National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Larry Schweiger said "the Keystone XL pipeline was the wrong project in the wrong place. You can change the route, but it is still the wrong project at a time when we need investments in clean energy alternatives that don't spill, don't pollute, and don't run out."


Unfortunately, Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry from Omaha sponsored legislation that would require the State Department to expedite its consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Given the many important issues that are still unresolved, we believe this bill is short-sighted.


President Obama has said publicly he will be making the decision about whether to grant a Presidential Permit to TransCanada, with recommendations from the State Department and other agencies.


The US State Department held hearings to take public comments on whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the USA's national interest on September 27 in Lincoln, and on September 29 in Atkinson, Nebraska.


Read the Nebraska Wildlife Federation letter asking the US State Department to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or at least to condition its approval on a safe route through Nebraska...comment letter here


Ask Secretary of State John Kerry to deny the permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by writing to: US Department of State, PO Box 96503-98500, Washington, DC 20090.


More Background...


The US State Department took comments on its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed pipeline in August. The State Department considered alternative routes that avoid the Nebraska Sandhills, but said -- incorrectly, we believe -- that they would not provide an extra measure of safety. The State Department also re-examined the climate and energy implications of the project, concluding that tar sands oil is indeed more carbon-intensive than most oil used in the USA.


After a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in April (see Nebraska Wildlife Federation comments here), we asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hold field hearings in Nebraska and other states impacted by the pipeline. See our letter here.


On July 11, Dr. John Stansbury from the University of Nebraska released an independent analysis of the likelihood and potential extent of a spill from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The report concludes that a major spill would be more likely, and cause far more damage, than the 'worst case' scenario being promoted by TransCanada, the pipeline's builder. Read the summary or the full report.


For More Information...


A recent report by the Congressional Research Service confirms that states like Nebraska have the primary responsibility for siting of oil pipelines, and for protecting landowners subject to eminent domain laws that allow the taking of private land. The US State Department made clear their view that states have primary siting responsibility.


The Center for Energy Matters produced a video on the pipeline and some of the Texas landowners concerned about the pipeline, and about efforts to take their property by eminent domain. Click here to see it.


Nebraska Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Bold Nebraska, Sierra Club and others hosted a summit meeting on the Keystone XL pipeline in July, 2010 in Lincoln. Speakers discussed the risks of the pipeline to our environment, landowners and Native Tribes, and we discussed what can be done. 63 people attended in person, and another 367 watched by webcast. See a recording of the summit speakers on YouTube here.


The Nebraska Wildlife Federation submitted Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, (PDF file) and the National Wildlife Federation joined other national groups in submitting comments on the Draft EIS (PDF file) as well.


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The Short Story:


March, 2014

NEWF comments pipeline not in national interest


January, 2014

State Department issues final environmental review


April, 2013: NEWF comments on State Dept. environmental review


March, 2013: NWF, NEWF and others ask for tougher pipeline safety rules


December, 2012: Nebraska DEQ issues report on proposed re-route.


December, 2011: Congress passes legislation requiring a speedy decision on federal permit


November, 2011: TransCanada yields to pressure, agrees to re-route Keystone XL around Sandhills


November, 2011: Legislature passes two new petroleum pipeline Laws





A recent scientific study has shown that, contrary to claims by the Canadian government and industry, tar sands oil production is polluting the Athabasca River with "a highly toxic brew of heavy metals." The study highlights just one of the dangers of this method of oil production, and also calls into question the credibility of those who support the project and claim it carries little risk.


The Guardian magazine recently ranked Alberta tar sands oil development as one of the ten most ecologically damaging projects on the planet. Producing a barrel of this oil takes four tons of earth, contaminates 2-4 barrels of freshwater, and releases three times as much global warming pollution as conventional oil sources. Ultimately, The Guardian says "if proposed expansion proceeds, it will result in the loss of vast tracts of boreal forest and peat bogs of a territory the size of England."


The Department of State took public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement through July 2. Over 200 people attended the three public hearings held in Nebraska in May, at Fairbury, York, and Atkinson. At the hearings, Nebraska Wildlife Federation joined dozens of other Nebraskans in raising important objections to the pipeline and its possible impacts on the Ogallala Aquifer and other groundwater, Nebraska rivers and wetlands, the fragile Sandhills soils, remnant native prairies, greenhouse gases and the destruction of boreal forests in Canada.


The Environmental Protection Agency sent a comment letter to the State Department, saying the State Department's analysis was inadequate.


The US Department of State must complete the environmental review of the project, and once that is complete, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will then make a decision about whether the project is in the National Interest of the USA.


Sign our petition to Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama, and Governor Heineman on the Keystone XL pipeline here.  


Download a National Wildlife Federation Fact Sheet on the Keystone XL pipeline here (PDF)





























US Department of State



The National Wildlife Federation has additional information on its web site related to the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands oil here.