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Reworked Keystone pipeline application back for US review

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and guests discuss green initiatives in light of the new Keystone route proposal.

The energy hot potato known as the Keystone XL pipeline was back to the State Department, which announced Friday that it had received a new application from developer TransCanada that includes a reworked route through Nebraska. 

Environmental groups and industry quickly lined up on opposite sides, while the Obama administration said a final decision is not likely before next year.

In Nebraska, Republicans had joined Democrats in objecting to an initial proposal of routing the $7 billion natural gas pipeline from Canada through the sensitive Sandhills region and over the Ogallala Aquifer. 


TransCanada last month released a new proposal that shows the proposed route now east of the Sandhills, but environmentalists question how the map was drawn as well as the overall pipeline, which would start in Canada's "tar sands" region, where extracting the gas includes heavy mining. 

"TransCanada is still pushing the same dirty tar sands pipeline over the Sandhills, over the Ogallala Aquifer, and endangering Americans' drinking water,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. "They think that if they redraw the map they can fool the people whose land and livelihoods would be threatened by this dangerous pipeline."

A senior executive at the American Petroleum Industry told msnbc.com that he expected Nebraska to approve the new route as part of its ongoing state process. 

CNBC's Brian Sullivan speaks to Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada, regarding its revised proposal to build its Keystone XL pipeline project.

"We expect to see strong support" in Nebraska, API Vice President Marty Durbin said. "From our standpoint there are no more excuses."

The State Department, which is involved because the pipeline would cross a U.S. border, said in a statement that it would hire a third-party consultant to review the application, and noted that Nebraska itself doesn't expect to finalize its own decision on the new route for six to nine months.

The controversy has also become a campaign issue between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

Obama has emphasized that he's for increased energy production, and even traveled to an existing stretch of the Keystone pipeline in Oklahoma to show his support.

But the administration also blocked the northern section of the pipeline earlier this year due to the issues in Nebraska.

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