Today the State Department announced that it had completed its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. Although the document is not decisional to approve or deny the project, it completes the agency's technical environmental review which found that it did not significantly alter greenhouse gas emissions or the extraction of Canadian oil sands or heavy crude refining in the U.S.

A new route for the Keystone XL pipeline intended to avoid sensitive portions of the Sandhills region was submitted today to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). According from TransCanada's CEO, Russ Girling, the route was "based on extensive feedback from Nebraskans, and reflects our shared desire to minimize the disturbance of land and sensitive resources in the state." 

Today the Army Corps of Engineers granted approval for TransCanada to begin construction on the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that would end at the Gulf of Mexico. Last January, President Obama denied a National Interest Determination permit for the high-profile project that is opposed by many environmental groups because it moves large amounts of oil sands crude that have a more energy intensive extraction process than conventional crude oil. Today's announcement generally aligns with Administration's proposal from last March where they urged TransCanada to reapply for a construction permit by breaking up the project into two portions: a southern leg which needs no additional Presidential permits and a northern leg crossing the international border into the US which does.

Late last week, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners announced its intention to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline to 850,000 barrels per day. Currently, the Trans Mountain Pipeline is the only Pacific Coast outlet for Canadian crude oil to reach growing marketplaces in Asia. The news underscores the continued interest by Canadian producers and pipeline companies to search for additional markets for oils sands should US opposition persist in approving the Keystone XL Project.

Nebraska's unicameral legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation by a vote of 44-5 that would allow the state to begin its study to re-route a section of the Keystone XL pipeline that originally ran through the Sandhills region. TransCanada, the company constructing the project, would reimburse the state up to $2 million dollars for its review.