On August 21, the Nebraska Public Service Commission released its Third Set of Proposed Rules in regards to the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act--a law that our state leaders made TransCanada exempt from following (unless the Citizen Lawsuit against LB 1161 is successful).
Some highlights of the revisions include:
PSC includes a definition of a "Safety Data Sheet," (section 001.01O), which corresponds with a new requirement (section 023.02A5) that requires "a description of the product or material to be transported through the major oil pipeline." This section now contains wording requiring ingredients, first-aid measures,emergency response measures, and toxicological information, to name a few. Many citizens called for the inclusion of this requirement in the form of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), so we feel this revision is a strong addition.
Also included in this draft of regulations, which were in the previous draft also but are worth mentioning, are requirements (section 023.07A) that a pipeline company has the burden of proof in establishing that a proposed pipeline route would be in the public interest. Subsections of that section also require an environmental impact study, a comprehensive soil permeability study, a distance-to-groundwater survey, and also "whether any other utility corridor exists that could feasibly and beneficially be used for the route of the major oil pipeline."
Many of these regulations were suggested by numerous citizens as well as by Bold Nebraska. We support the PSC's response to so many common-sense concerns and are glad to see that they, unlike the DEQ, are establishing a clear set of standards when it comes to routing pipelines in our state. Citizens and landowners have fought hard to have their voices heard on this issue, and the PSC has responded.
The PSC is still taking comments on these rules and regulations. Please take a moment to send your comments to them, even if it is just to say that you support the revisions made. The public comment period is open now until 5:00 PM on September 28, 2012. According to the PSC order, "Interested parties should provide one original and five (5) copies and send an electronic copy to email@example.com AND to firstname.lastname@example.org."
A hearing on the proposed third set of rules will be on October 16, 2012. The hearing will be at 1:00 PM in the Commission Hearing Room, 300 The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. If you plan to give testimony, it is a good idea to bring a written copy of your remarks to provide to the clerk for filing in the record.