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Governor's pipeline approval draws criticism
The decision now lies in the hand of the Obama administration. Governor Dave Heineman announcing Tuesday his approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
The letter the governor sent to President Obama and Secretary Clinton gives his approval of the 195-mile route through Nebraska.
He says he took three things into consideration when making his decision: energy independence, economic impact, and environmental impact.
But not everyone is happy with his decision.
"I sent the President and Secretary Clinton a letter today indicating I'd approved the route for Nebraska," said Heineman.
After reviewing a 2,000 page state report on the new route of the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska, the governor gave his approval.
"I knew at the end of the day you're going to make some people happy and some people unhappy, but you've got to make a decision, we've made our decision," Heineman said.
His decision came a little over a year after asking the President not to approve TransCanada's permit to building the pipeline.
"A lot's happened since that letter, I called a special session, we have moved the route of the pipeline, and so we have to base it on the current conditions," said Heineman.
His decision came after a review from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and input from the public.
Final approval now rests in the hands of the Obama Administration.
"We will obviously take that letter and the Nebraska environmental report into consideration as we continue our federal review process," said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
But not everyone agrees with the Governor's decision, including one of the pipelines biggest critics, Bold Nebraska.
"Gov. Heineman had an opportunity to really lead in our state to protect our water and most importantly to protect property rights of farmers and ranchers. Instead, he turned his back on our water and our property rights," said Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska.
Bold Nebraska is party to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law giving the governor authority to approve the pipeline.
"There is currently a legal challenge on the process that Governor Heineman used and so the judge actually ruled in favor of the citizens with that first step of the lawsuit," said Kleeb.
That lawsuit is ongoing.
The State Department was hoping to make a decision on the pipeline's permit in the first few months of this year, but now say they don't anticipate being able to conclude their own review before the end of the first quarter.
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