Update 3/13, 11am: The Natural Resources Committee voted out Sen. Smith’s bill that gives TransCanada special treatment, leaves landowners to fight to protect their property rights and violates Nebraska’s constitution. Our press release is below. Save March 30th for a citizen action to protest LB 1161.
Bought Off by TransCanada, Forgotten Nebraska Roots
This morning the Natural Resources Committee, on a 6-2 vote, advanced Sen. Smith’s bill that provides special legislation for one company–TransCanada. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Quality, without any guidance from federal agencies like the US State Department, to review routes for a pipeline that does not exist.
What is very much alive though is a political talking point for big oil corporations and politicians who are owned by them that stretches the truth beyond reason on how the TransCanada pipeline will solve all job, economic and high gas price issues.
Because TransCanada’s permit was denied and because they have not resubmitted an application to the State Department, TransCanada’s pipeline does not exist and therefore Nebraska should not spend one more dime on this pipeline until TransCanada does their due diligence and submits their new federal application.
Further, this bill is unconstitutional because it is special legislation for one company and it grants eminent domain authority almost immediately to TransCanada rather then the current law which requires them to get their federal permit before they can start seizing private Nebraska land through eminent domain.
Bold Nebraska and allied groups will plan a protest on March 30th in Lincoln. More details will be given as the date gets closer. Citizens can email firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in the protest.
Quote from Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club:
Quote from Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska:
“The Legislature shall not pass local or special laws in any of the following cases, that is to say… Granting to any corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive privileges, immunity, or franchise whatever; Provided, that notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature shall have authority to separately define and classify loans and installment sales, to establish maximum rates within classifications of loans or installment sales which it establishes, and to regulate with respect thereto. In all other cases where a general law can be made applicable, no special law shall be enacted.”
Looks like the Natural Resources Committee will go into “executive session” tomorrow to discuss and potentially vote out LB 1161, Sen. Smith’s “special deal for TransCanada” bill. The bill gets worse by the day, it now gives TransCanada eminent domain authority BEFORE they get a federal permit for their project.
Email the Natural Resources Committee, tell them you oppose LB 1161, that we already have the law in place for TransCanada and any other oil pipeline company that wants their pipeline route reviewed. We need to strengthen eminent domain for citizens, not weaken it!
Natural Resource Committee Members (Click here to send the entire commitee an email):
Chris Langemeier, Chairperson email@example.com 402-471-2719
Jim Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2730
Ken Schilz, Vice-chair email@example.com 402-471-2616
Annette Dubas, firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2630
Tom Carlson, email@example.com 402-471-2732
Mark Christensen, firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2805
Beau McCoy, email@example.com 402-471-2885
Ken Haar, firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2673
More reasons LB 1161 is bad public policy:
It would make it easier for TransCanada to exercise eminent domain. Given TransCanada’s abuses of this authority by threateningNebraska landowners with the use of eminent domain without a permit, the law should make it more difficult for private pipeline companies to exercise eminent domain.
LB 1161 is probably unconstitutional special legislation. No other company would be able to use its provisions, which creates a closed class in violation of the Nebraska Constitution.
It is unnecessary. LB 1 created a process to determine the route of oil pipelines through Nebraska’s Public Service Commission which they could use.
Nebraska taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for TransCanada’s review of a proposed route. They spent $530,000 lobbying the Legislature in the special session and another $1.3 million lobbying Congress last year. TransCanada can clearly afford to pay for their pipeline review. The State has pressing needs for the use of its taxpayer dollars, like paying for teachers and books.
Even if this bill passes and the Nebraska DEQ certifies a route, the State Department, since they have no Memorandum of Understanding with DEQ laying out what they expect in an EIS could turn around and say the DEQ’s route certification is not sufficient and we would have to go through this process all over again.