On April 24, Bold Alliance filed an objection to the Nebraska Public Service Commission Hearing Officer’s recent order that denied our motion for reconsideration of its previous order that lumps Bold, three other organizations (Nebraska Sierra Club, 350.org and Oil Change International) and 30+ individuals granted intervenor status — who collectively represent millions of individuals — into a single group of “Natural Resource Petitioners” in its review of TransCanada’s permit application to build its proposed Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
The April 24 objection calls on the full Public Service Commission — instead of just the one Hearing Officer in charge of the KXL review — to hear arguments on Bold’s previous motion.
Bold’s motion argued that the lumping of 36+ intervenors together severely limits Bold’s, Sierra Club’s, and all the intervenors’ individual ability to present relevant evidence, witnesses and unique arguments in a meaningful way.
Under the current PSC order, Bold, Sierra, 350, Oil Change and the 30+ members of the public will be limited to collectively call just one witness for the entire hearing. This “expert” would need to be an expert on all the issues we wish to raise that are relevant to the PSC’s review — including environmental impact; soil permeability; distance to groundwater; and impact and plant life along the proposed route. “It is unlikely that any one witness would be able to qualify as an expert on all the natural resources issues set forth in the siting act or PSC’s Order,” Bold’s objection states.
What’s more, instead of each being able to present unique evidence, the PSC is insisting that these groups and individuals with unique concerns must figure out amongst ourselves what one solitary argument from the many we possess to present.
Bold is encouraging people to testify at the public hearing on May 3rd in York. This is an opportunity to ask the entire commission to open up the formal intervention process to allow presentation of more evidence relevant to the criteria of the siting statute and the PSC’s regulations. It is also an opportunity for each person to talk about his or her unique interests in opposing KXL.