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Pipeline Bill Advances, Background and Resources

TransCanada’s pipeline bill makes one sad point very clear: money wins, democracy loses. TransCanada’s demands and power over our State Senators means landowner’s property rights, water concerns and a transparent process to certify oil pipeline routes are now out the window.

A foreign corporation that misleads Senators and bullies landowners got a bill passed just for them on the backs of citizens.

Folks are tired of bailing out Transcanada from their problems. Its bad enough that the United States is bailing them out of their bad investment on toxic tarsands. Now, our state senators are changing our laws to roll out the “black carpet” for a foreign company that could care less about our landowners property rights and our water.

TransCanada got what they wanted all along, a “rubber stampped route” and a talking point during the heated election season so they can continue to buy-off politicians at the risk of our land and water.

Press: we can put you in touch with landowners or group leaders, email jane@boldnebraska.org. Press and the public can watch the final vote online. Our best guess is the final vote will take place on April 11th in the morning.

Citizens and landowners are keeping TransCanada and the Unicameral accountable with letters and statements to local papers:

-John Hansen with Nebraska Farmers Union summed it up when he said, “Nebraska Farmers Union is deeply disappointed that the Legislature broke its bargain with Nebraska landowners made in the Special Session.  LB1161 is bad public policy, bad legislative process, likely unconstitutional, breaks faith with Nebraska landowners, and is absolutely unnecessary because there is already a fair and open process in place for all new oil pipelines as contained in LB1.  The Nebraska Legislature turned a deaf ear to Nebraska citizens and landowners one more time while it allowed a foreign corporation to circumvent the already approved and appropriate process signed into law for all new oil pipeline projects.  LB1161 is a very bitter pill to swallow.”

-Joyce: “Eminent domain was supposed to be allowed only if a permit had been approved by the federal government. But here state senators are handing TransCanada our personal property on a silver platter.

-Amy: “If TransCanada wants to move the denied Keystone XL project forward, the company needs to reapply for a permit and follow the laws we enacted during the special session.”

-Randy (as in I Stand with Randy): “I truly believe our state legislators need to start worrying a little less about their so-called commitment to TransCanada, and a little more about their commitment to serve the best interest of Nebraskans.”

-Britton: “Those who did not attend the public hearings for LB1161 might be interested in how Smith answered some difficult questions about the bill he introduced. He deferred the answers to those who followed him at the hearings: TransCanada Vice President Robert Jones and a TransCanada lawyer.”

-Shelly: “Why won’t our representatives start working for the people they are supposed to represent and start protecting the resources of Nebraska?” 

Bill Overview

  • Nebraska’s Unicameral advanced LB 1161for a final vote the last week of this legislative session. 
  • The bill was amended heavily throughout the past two weeks with amendments happening even an hour before the vote on the bill giving citziens no time to understand or comment on the bill.
  • The final vote on the bill will take place probably on Wed., April 11 in the morning.
  • The bill gives the Nebraska Dept. of Environmental Quality authority to certify a route for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Governor Heineman will have final authority on the route and will be the one that grants eminent domain to TransCanada BEFORE they apply or receive a federal permit.
  • The bill uses LB 1, the bill passed during the special session that requires oil pipelines to go through the Public Service Commission, only as a “back up” plan if the Governor does not certify an oil pipeline route. 
  • The Public Service Commission is a more transparent and public process including giving the public input on the rules and regulations the pipeline company has to adhere to before their route gets approved.
  • Text of LB 1161 and amendments: http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=16138 
KXL Pipeline and Tarsands Facts
 
Foreign Export Pipeline: One of the biggest beneficiaries of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be a Saudi-owned refinery called Motiva, an export refinery. This Saudi Arabia export refinery received over $1 billion American tax-payer dollars given to upgrade their refinery to handle tar sands oil—which emits three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as traditional crude oil and is dangerously corrosive to pipeline infrastructure.  Additionally, as a new report makes clear, America also can’t afford the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline due to the lies, misinformation, shoddy safety record, and bullying tactics of TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the pipeline. 

Raise gas Prices in Midwest:  Studies show that approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will do nothing to help Americans seeking relief from high gas prices.  Estimates show show it could  RAISE gas prices by as much as 20 cents a gallon.

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BOLD Nebraska
208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901