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Nebraska Public Service Commission Allows Keystone XL Pipeline Expansion, Exposes Whole US to Environmental, Public Health Risks

WASHINGTON - Betraying bipartisan voices from across Nebraska and the rest of the United States, the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted today to allow the Keystone XL pipeline, which will connect a Canadian pipeline transporting the dirtiest fuel on the planet to an existing line at the Nebraska-Kansas border. The fossil fuel company TransCanada plans to lay Keystone XL over the Ogallala aquifer, endangering the primary source of clean water for 2.3 million people in America’s heartland.

“From farmers whose families have worked the land for generations to average Americans worried about oil spills, such as the Keystone leak in South Dakota last Thursday, people banded together and fought Keystone XL,” said Andrea McGimsey, Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions Director. “By siding with a Canadian company rather than their own constituents, Nebraska’s commissioners are endangering our nation's water and climate.”

The vote was in doubt till the very end, but TransCanada, with its fossil fuel-funded lobbyists and government allies, pressed to get the pipeline approved. Many pipeline supporters said Keystone XL would provide the United States with more energy independence, but the future of the energy sector is in clean, renewable energy. And ironically, the pipeline will pass through three states --  Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana – which ranked in the top half of the country in new wind electricity generation over the past decade.

“The arguments in favor of stopping the pipeline expansion – cleaner air, cleaner water and a better climate for the people of Nebraska and the nation – clearly should have outweighed TransCanada’s short-term economic gain,” said McGimsey. “We’ll pray that the environmental and climate repercussions of this decision don’t have devastating effects on Nebraska and neighboring states. But given the track record of Keystone pipeline leaks, we won’t get our hopes up.”

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