Yesterday, Speaker Flood and a few other state senators met with TransCanada to discuss issues around the pipeline. Instead of bowing to TransCanada and their arrogant attitude towards basic protections of our land and water, Speaker Flood should be gathering the votes for a special session and calling in state and national experts on both sides to help make sure a solid law is in place to re-route the pipe, to ensure proper state-based chain-of-command is in place for spills, and to fix the very vague eminent domain and liability laws.

But no, instead Speaker Flood says he is still unsure about what our state can and cannot do. We could go on and on for pages about what they can do and when they should have done it. The simple fact is that it’s Nebraska’s responsibility to route oil pipelines and put other common sense regulations in place. Other states have these measures in place. Nebraska does not. We do have laws in place for gas pipelines, but somehow oil pipeline companies think they are above the law and that rules should not apply to them.

The York Times, Omaha World Herlad and the Lincoln Journal Star all did great articles on the failed meeting yesterday, so we are passing along our favorite parts of those articles below.

Thank you to every citizen that came out to watch “Pipe Dreams” in Atkinson and Lincoln. Thank you to every landowner who is raising questions about TransCanada and their awful contract that puts the liability on landowners when a spill happens.

If you want to take action, please consider being part of the Pumpkins Against the Pipeline event or joining us on Mondays at noon outside Gov. Heineman’s mansion. If those two ideas do not sound exciting, we have more listed on our action page.

York Times: Some of the best editorials have been written by the folks at York Times (they also have one of the best county board presidents, Kurt Bulgrin). They lay it all out why TransCanada will not change the route, click here to read the full article.

Well folks, following the existing Keystone 1 route would accomplish all those things. It must be something else they are not advertising that makes them reluctant to change routes.

Could it be that $1.6 billion in extra capital expense? Of course it is. TransCanada wants to build this high pressure, overheated pipeline as cheaply as possible, to give their investors as much return on their investment as possible.

I wonder if you know that in 2008 TransCanada went out and signed contacts with oil companies to transport their tar-sand oil to the gulf coast, through Nebraska.

TransCanada told them if they built the pipe on a straight line it would cost the oil companies 25 percent less to transport their oil, so the oil companies signed on based on the shorter route through the Sandhills and over the aquifer saying the longer route would be unacceptable to them.

It’s on page 49 of the EIS Alternatives section.

“The Keystone XL project that the shippers supported was the project as presented in the Presidential Permit application. A material departure from this proposal and the associated higher cost would have made the project commercially infeasible… Contract shippers on Keystone XL pay a fixed and a variable toll to transport crude oil to market. Both the fixed and spot tolls would have increased by approximately 25 percent from adoption of the Keystone Corridor Alternative at the initial routing stage as a result of the increase in capital costs. Transportation rates at this level would not have been acceptable and commercial support for the project would not have been received.”

There you have it. TransCanada was asked to come up with alternative routes to avoid the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer, but the oil companies didn’t like that route because it would cost them more, so profits over prosperity took over and TransCanada submitted the straight-line proposal to the State department for approval.

LJS: So what exactly has Speaker Flood been doing for the past two years on this proposed pipeline and for over four years on the last TransCanada pipeline? You are the elected official Flood, not TransCanada. You should be telling TransCanada what to do, not waiting on them to make up more false promises. To read the full article, click here.

Flood said Dubas can’t count him as a favorable vote on a special session.

“Right now, I can’t tell you that I would vote for a special session, because I want to complete my legal analysis,” he said.

“Let’s be honest. This is a legal minefield. Let’s wait and see what kind of answers TransCanada has.”

OWH: I thought it was up to our elected officials to set laws to protect our land and water. I did not realize we are in the business of making sure a foreign oil company meets its commitments for oil shipments and its commitment to its shareholders. Our favorite portion is below, to read the full article, click here.

Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president for energy and oil pipelines, said changing the route would require at least a two-year delay for a federal environmental review.

Such a delay, Pourbaix said, would be unacceptable for the Texas oil refineries that would be customers for the 700,000 barrels of diluted tar-sand oil — called bitumen — from Canada.

Customers such as the Conoco, Shell and Valero oil companies are losing supplies of heavy crude oil from their traditional sources in Mexico and Venezuela and are relying on the pipeline — to be completed in 2013 — to fill that gap, Pourbaix said.

“Our customers need a solution for supply,” he said. “They can’t wait another two or three years.”