TransCanada Inc. is significantly increasing its financial offers to Nebraska landowners as it seeks a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline that bypasses the groundwater-rich Sand Hills.
Letters went out last week to landowners along the new route, offering bonuses for signing right-of-way contracts and increasing estimated payments for right-of-way by up to 400 percent over what the company paid along the original route.
The bonuses offered amount to $15,000 per mile of right-of-way if a landowner signed the agreement in the next 45 days.
One estimated easement offer, to a rancher along the Niobrara River, was about four times higher than the rancher was offered on the original route — about $16 per foot compared to about $4 per foot.
Shawn Howard, a spokesman for TransCanada, declined to explain why easement offers might be higher, saying discussions with landowners are confidential.