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Guest View: Keystone XL pipeline will be safe

Guest View: Keystone XL pipeline will be safe

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TransCanada is closely reviewing the public feedback provided to the Nebraska Department of Environment of Environmental Quality on the revised route corridor for the Keystone XL pipeline and appreciates the effort Nebraskans have taken to provide their thoughts and questions about this important project for the state.

I would like to reassure Nebraskans that the new corridor has been carefully selected to avoid the Sandhills and minimize environmental impact along the proposed route.

TransCanada has been building pipelines and energy infrastructure across North America for more than 60 years. We take our environmental stewardship commitments seriously and have successfully built and safely operate pipelines through all kinds of environmentally sensitive areas, including the sand hills region of Saskatchewan in Canada, which has similar characteristics to the Sand Hills in Nebraska.

The revised route corridor avoids the Sandhills area as defined by the NDEQ and federal agencies in 2001. The new corridor was designed to significantly reduce the length of the Keystone XL route that crosses any environmental features similar to those found in the Sandhills area, including native prairie with sandy soil conditions, wetlands and aquifer-related water bodies.

TransCanada is committed to ensuring that the landscape along the Keystone XL pipeline is fully restored and can continue to be used in its traditional manner. We have a proven track record for using best practices and industry-leading techniques for minimizing the environmental impacts of our operations. This includes working with landowners to avoid sensitive landscape features whenever possible, preserving topsoil and replanting with the most appropriate native species to promote rapid reclamation and erosion prevention.

When construction is finished, TransCanada has an obligation to maintain the right of way for the life of the pipeline. We will continue to work with landowners to restore the surface and address any issues that might arise as a result of our activities.

Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever built in the United States. It will incorporate more remotely controlled shut-off valves, increased pipeline inspections and pipe that is buried deeper in the ground, and horizontal directional drilling to place the pipeline well below major river crossings.

TransCanada has an industry-leading safety record and no one has a stronger interest than we do in making sure that all of our pipelines run safely and reliably.

Alex Pourbaix is president of energy and oil pipelines for TransCanada Corporation. This Guest View column was submitted as a reply to the July 20 Journal Star editorial "TransCanada must do more."


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