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Hundreds voice opinion on Keystone XL pipeline
The small town of Albion nearly doubled in size Tuesday night as hundreds of people arrived in town for the final hearing on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
800 people packed the Boone County Fairgrounds, with opponents out numbering supporters 3 to 1.
It was hours of back and forth.
"We believe the reroute of the pipeline in Nebraska that we have proposed is a good one and should be approved," said
"Millions of gallons of this toxic witches brew being spread directly over some of the most fragile parts of Nebraska Ogalalla Aquifer."
168 people signed up to testify at the hearing in Albion which began at 6:00 and ran until 2:00 in the morning.
Of those wanting to testify, only 107 spoke before the panel. 22 for the project, 85 against it.
"We would back off more if they would move it off the aquifer; that's our biggest concern is the aquifer," said Laura Musch, Bold Nebraska.
Opponents cite the aquifer and Sandhills as the reason behind their disapproval, while others support the economic impact the pipeline would have.
"It's going to create jobs, it's going to create economic opportunity for many of these rural communities, it means new tax revenue," said Brad Stevens, Americans for Prosperity.
Now that the public comment period has ended for the reroute, what happens next?
"We will again review all those comments we've gotten, adjust our report if need be and finalize it over the next 3-4 weeks," said NDEQ Director Mike Linder.
That report, which the NDEQ is in charge of, is a review of the new route, which was moved in late 2011 by TransCanada. When the report is finalized in January, it will then to go Governor Dave Heinaman.
"The governor then after he gets our final report has a 30 days period in which he will look at our report and then provide his approval or disapproval to the department of state," said Linder.
With hours of testimony and hundreds of written comments to sift through, a big decision on an even bigger project.
The State Department will make the final decision on whether to issue permits to build the pipeline.
No word on when their decision will be made.
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