The proposed Keystone XL route was evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) over a 10-month public process back in 2012. This process included a seven-month public comment period and testimony period where feedback was provided on the proposed route for incorporation into route adjustments to avoid sensitive and important areas in Nebraska. Following this, a preferred route was selected and approved by Governor Heineman.
This route is the shortest distance between Hardisty, Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska and minimizes the overall environmental impact of the project as it crosses the least amount of land. Among other findings, NDEQ found that the Preferred Route avoids the Nebraska Sandhills region and avoids many areas of fragile soils in northern Nebraska.
In addition, compared to the Keystone Mainline Alternative Route, the Preferred Route was selected on the basis that potential benefits that may be afforded by co-locating with the Keystone Mainline are outweighed by the need for additional aboveground infrastructure (i.e., pump station and associated electrical transmission lines), as well as the additional impacts to the environment.
What counties does the route cross?
The proposed route is 275.2 miles long and would start at the Nebraska-South Dakota border in Keya Paha County, Nebraska and terminate at Steele City in Jefferson County, Nebraska. It will pass through Keya Paha, Boyd, Holt, Antelope, Boone, Nance, Merrick, Polk, York, Fillmore, Saline, and Jefferson counties.