Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ruffled feathers two weeks ago when she said the State Department is “inclined” to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Opponents of the nearly 2,000-mile line that would pump 37 billion gallons of oil a day from Canada to Texas immediately raised concerns over the comments, but now an anonymous State Department source tells Reuters that a decision is still months away. “No decision will be made on the pipeline project until after the full environmental review has generated a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and until after the department has received input from other relevant agencies on whether permitting the pipeline would be in the national interest,” the source says. But in Nebraska, Clinton’s comments are still echoing. Sen. Ben Nelson sent a letter last week asking the State Department to carefully consider environmental and scientific data before making a rash political decision. On Monday, Sen. Mike Johanns wrote to Clinton asking for a supplemental EIS that would examine alternative routes for the pipeline. “I, along with many Nebraskans, remain concerned that the health of the Ogallala Aquifer may be unnecessarily put at risk by the current route proposed for the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Johanns wrote in the Nov. 1 letter. The aquifer supplies more than 80 percent of the drinking water in Nebraska, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. TransCanada says it is optimistic that the project will meet its scheduled start date of early 2013.


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