New information on TransCanada’s plans in relation to the rejected Keystone XL pipeline came out this week. According to TransCanada’s press release, they are moving forward with just building an extension from Oklahoma to Texas in addition to saying they will submit for a new application for their (already rejected) Keystone XL pipeline that crosses our state.
Current state law does not allow Nebraska to study routes of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
Sen. Smith’s new bill in the Unicameral would give a special exception, a loophole, for TransCanada to have their new route analyzed before Nebraska gets the regulations in place at the Public Service Commission. Sen. Smith’s bill is still in committee.
Since TransCanada’s permit was denied, they no longer fall under one of the laws, passed during the Pipeline Special Session last year, that gave the Nebraska Dept. of Environmental Quality the authority to study alternative routes in conjunction with the State Department and at the expense of $2 million Nebraska taxpayer dollars.
TransCanada does not want to wait for the Public Service Commission to put their regulations in place to study oil pipelines, which will take about a year since they are seeking expert and public input on those new and very important regulations.
This is why TransCanada wants Sen. Smith’s bill passed so they can still use the DEQ to study routes, but again, as of today there is NO LAW that gives the DEQ that authority. Not one Nebraska citizen or landowner testified in support of Sen. Smith’s bill. Plenty testified in opposition.
So once again, TransCanada says anything and does anything to keep public impression positive on their project with little concrete reality to back it up. They are even now saying they will “reimburse” Nebraska for the study, but ONLY IF their pipeline does not get built and they have not put any commitment in writing yet. We don’t trust TransCanada, we can all recall the long list of promises like “bonds for spills” they said they would also put in place and never did.
Worst of all, our water is still at risk.
TransCanada reiterated in their press release today that they will go around the Sandhills (the definition of the Sandhills is still up for debate) but they did not even mention the word Ogallala Aquifer.
TransCanada will continue to work collaboratively with the State of Nebraska on determining an alternative route for Keystone XL that avoids the Sandhills. TransCanada has been working on assessing the routing in Nebraska since November 2011, following the State Department’s notice to delay a decision on a Presidential Permit until an adjusted route that avoids the Sandhills was developed.
I am asking you to disapprove TransCanada’s pending permit request. Do not allow TransCanada to build a pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer and risk the potential damage to Nebraska’s water. -Gov. Heineman to President Obama