At the Legislature this week we will begin full day debate on the floor. The Speaker of the Legislature released his priority bills and I was pleased to find out that my bill, LB 1125, was chosen as one of them.
Despite the President's denial of TransCanada's permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, the issue continues to make a splash here at the Capitol. I would like to discuss LB 1161, in relation to the events surrounding the pipeline issue in Nebraska.
During the Special Session of 2011, Nebraska passed, LB 1, legislation allowing the Nebraska Department of Environmental Equality to work on a state funded supplemental environmental impact study with the U.S. State Department to help develop a route around the sandhills. Also, allowing the Governor to have final review of the project. The Federal Pipeline Safety Act has exclusive control over pipeline safety. President Obama's decision to deny the federal permit of TransCanada has also ended Nebraska's state funded supplemental study for TransCanada's application. This leads us to the need for LB 1161.
In light of the events that have occurred since Special Session, Senator Jim Smith of Omaha introduced and prioritized LB 1161 for the 2012 Legislative Session. This is an important bill for our State as well as the many Nebraskans who voiced their concern with the original pipeline route. President Obama's denial of the permit denotes that TransCanada will have to re-apply for a permit. If a new permit is applied for the application would fall under the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act, giving the Public Service Commission the authority to site the pipeline route. Putting the State in jeopardy for of a potential study to be done on the original pipeline route, through the sandhills. Senator Smith's, LB 1161 with AM 1984 would allow the DEQ to continue their current study of a reroute for TransCanada Keysone XL oil pipeline projects and reduce the chances that a pipeline will be routed through the sandhills. I agree with Senator Smith that the pipeline is an issue that should continue forward, for the betterment of our state. In the meantime the Natural Resource Committee has decided to wait for a statement to be made by the Governor before the bill will move forward out of committee.
Questions or Comments? Contact Sen. Mark R. Christensen or staff at, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE, 68509, 402-471-2805.