Nebraska OKs Route for Keystone Pipeline Obama will have 'stark' choice soon, says one blogger By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jan 22, 2013 1:09 PM CST 32 comments Comments This 2010 file photo shows the Sand Hills near Mills, Neb., an environmentally sensitive area. The new pipeline route would bypass it. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) (Newser) – The controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline just cleared a major hurdle: Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says the state is fine with an alternative route that avoids an environmentally fragile area knows as the Sand Hills, reports NPR. (Read his full letter to President Obama here.) Nebraska's opposition was a main reason President Obama sought a different route for the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas. Next up: A State Department assessment is likely to be released in a matter of days, reports the Wall Street Journal. After that, Obama will decide on the pipeline's fate, and Will Oremus at Slate writes that his choice is a "stark" one: "Reject the project purely on climate-change grounds and Obama will be pilloried by the right as an environmental extremist, sacrificing the economy at the altar of environmentalism. Approve it and his strong words on climate change will ring empty once again to his supporters on the left." Read the full post here.