By Alison Henderson
At a news conference in Nebraska Monday, TransCanada announced its plans to reroute the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
The pipeline would have carried oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, travelling over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska.
As one of the world's largest aquifers, the 174,000-mile water table is a main source of drinking water and irrigation for farmers in the Grain Belt.
After a new route is selected an environmental assessment will be completed, a process that is expected to set the project back by 12 to 18 months, according to a New York Times report.
A bill on the pipeline, offering up to $2 million from the state for a new environmental survey, is moving through the Nebraska legislature and will be voted on for a second time on Friday, according to a Reuters report.
Nebraska Gov. Heineman said Tuesday that he hoped Nebraska legislation would expedite the environmental impact statement for the Keystone pipeline.
"We support the pipeline, but we were opposed to the route through the Sandhills," Heineman said in the Reuters report. "The State Department heard our concerns and TransCanada has heard us."