Endangered whooping cranes are the focus of a showdown between the Keystone XL pipeline developer and Nebraska environmental experts, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The Sierra Club and Bold Nebraska are two of the groups that submitted written testimony on Monday to the Nebraska Public Service Commission. The environmental groups contend that the transmission lines to power pumping stations for the pipeline would threaten the population of whooping cranes. The groups also object to the $8 billion pipeline’s impact on natural resources.
The commission regulates the 275-mile pipeline route through Nebraska.
“Of all the known threats to whooping cranes, collisions with power lines are the primary cause of mortality,” said Paul Johnsgard, a retired biology professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “The loss of even a few, and even one, breeding adult could jeopardize the continued existence of this protected species.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently estimated that there are fewer than 350 whooping cranes remaining.
TransCanada has a deadline of July 17 to offer written rebuttals to submitted testimony. The Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the pipeline in August. TransCanada plans to follow the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which aims to protect migrating birds.