In this photo from Sept. 29, 2011, ranchers Todd Cone, left, and Terry Frisch stand by a cattle watering circle where the Ogallala Aquifer water table is at ground level, in the sandhills near Atkinson, Neb., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. Cone said he still considers the Keystone XL pipeline a threat to the state's groundwater, but is too busy to keep fighting the project after it was rerouted away from near his property. Terry Frisch remains ardently opposed to the pipeline, even though the planned route has moved from near his property to about 10 miles away.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)The Associated Press
In this photo made on March 11, 2013, a wooden stick with a pink ribbon marks the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline through farmland near Bradshaw, Neb. Despite an apparent lessening in opposition to the pipeline, supporters and opponents are expected to pack the U.S. State Department's sole public hearing in Grand Island, Neb., on Thursday, April 18, 2013, to make their views known on the $7.6 billion Canada-to-Texas line. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)The Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. – Opponents and supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline are preparing to face off in Nebraska once again, but a new route for the project has helped reduce some local opposition.
Both sides will speak on the pipeline Thursday during a U.S. State Department hearing in Grand Island. The public forum comes before the department makes a recommendation to President Barack Obama on whether to build the $7.6 billion, Canada-to-Texas line.
National opponents have formed a new group, the "All Risk, No Reward Coalition," which recently ran television ads in a dozen major media markets. The group planned to air the ads Tuesday in Nebraska.
But local officials in several towns along the route say the pipeline no longer registers as a major concern.