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Public Service Commission approves alternate Keystone XL route

Keystone Pipeline Route (NE Public Service Commission)

The Nebraska Public Service Commission has approved a Keystone XL Pipeline route through Nebraska.

The commission voted 3-2 Monday to approve the mainline alternate route.

Commissioners Crystal Rhoades and Mary Ridder voted against TransCanada's application.

Rhoades said the alternate route was not vetted the same way the main route was. She said, white it was farther away from the Sandhills, it still poses an environmental risk.

Landowners and environmental advocates Bold Nebraska would not say whether they plan to appeal the ruling, but vowed to continue fighting the pipeline.

Bold Nebraska said roughly 50 miles of the route approved by the PSC still crosses the Sandhills and shallow parts of the Ogallala Aquifer.

“Keystone XL will never be built. We must protect the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer from a risky export pipeline and eminent domain abuse,” said Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb. “TransCanada was already on thin margins to get their pipeline in the ground, and there is simply no reason they are not forced to move these last 50 miles of route as well, in order to avoid the Sandhills and our water," said Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance president.

“We are disappointed that the Commissioners approved Keystone XL, and have chosen to place the route through the most fragile soils and over and through the Ogalalla Aquifer -- refusing to see the value of our natural resources,” said Art Tanderup, a farmer near Neligh. “The PSC has decided that a foreign corporation is more important than Nebraska citizens. Their message is that it is OK to abuse property rights, land use rights and indigenous rights. When the state should be moving forward with more renewable energies and a statewide energy plan, the Commissioners are allowing the dirtiest of fossil fuels to accelerate climate change.”

Tanderup owns land on the Keystone XL preferred route, which was not approved.

Americans for Prosperity applauded the decision Monday.

"There is a likely a long-way to go before the line gets in the ground, but this is a positive step forward. This decision is about more than a company or a specific project - its approval signals that Nebraska is pro-jobs, pro-energy independence, and a part of the movement to utilize technology to improve the lives of Americans," said AFP-Nebraska State Director Matt Litt in a statement.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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