In this afternoon’s Senate Appropriations Committee, Ben Nelson suggested governors should have the power to sign off on pipeline routes. His full statement is below.

Bold’s Executive Director Jane Kleeb reacted by saying, “Senator Nelson continues to stand up for Nebraska’s land and water. His words are a call for urgent action to Governor Heineman and our state senators. It is their duty to put the proper pipeline routing and safety regulations in place. The time is now.”

Nelson Statement on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Mr. Chairman, I am not going to offer up an amendment at this time, but I wish to speak to an issue that is pending before the State Department that impacts Nebraska and the states of many of my colleagues around the table.

The State Department is currently giving consideration to the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

It is the location of the pipeline that has caused the greatest concern for me and my constituents.

Upon crossing into Nebraska, the pipeline would run through the Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer which provides the drinking water for two million people and supports $20 billion in agriculture.

I commend the State Department’s efforts to involve my state’s citizens in the discussion of the pipeline’s route; including next week’s field hearings in the states the pipeline travels.

My concern is that some state governments have not been involved to the extent they should be in working with the State Department in determining the safety and the environmental impact the pipeline will have on each state’s unique ecosystems.

This is true in my state where the Nebraska state government has not been as proactive in the review process as many of my constituents would prefer.

So, I believe there ought to be some kind of certification from Governors in the states the pipeline crosses to make sure the development of the pipeline proceeds as a partnership between the federal governments and the states before the State Department provides final sign off on the route.