Keystone XL —- Could Be Regulated By States

Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Regulated By States Says Congressional Study. There is potentially big, big news in the fight over whether and how the Keystone XL Pipeline goes forward in Nebraska, and perhaps elsewhere. It might depend on whether the Nebraska Legislature has the guts and the inclination to follow up on a report from the Congressional Research Service. The gist of the report is that the federal government has nothing to say about locating any pipelines; that means primary authority belongs to individual states and that includes for interstate pipelines. Nebraska has no laws or regulations on the books allowing it to influence pipeline siting or anything else. The Legislature could put such authority in place. That’s a big deal no matter how anyone spins it. The pipeline builder, TransCanada, has said having individual states regulate where the pipeline is located within their borders could mean a convoluted route. When completed it would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on America’s Gulf Coast. Those pipeline critics interpret the report to give the state all manner of authority concerning the pipeline, ranging from siting to eminent domain and other issues. Several bills involving the pipeline are pending in the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee. Others say pipeline critics are making too much of the report. Lawmakers who got hold of the report last fall didn’t see fit to share it with others who are concerned about the pipeline, including other legislators and several groups sharply critical the project. Concerns have been raised about the pipeline’s potential environmental impacts, including damage to underground water supplies. It would go through the Sandhills and over the tremendously important Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer is among the world’s largest, with much of its content under Nebraska. It runs under parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. A separate issue exists in the minds of some, having to do with why the report wasn’t generally distributed. Ken Winston of the Sierra Club in Nebraska was quoted as saying he was shocked to learn the CRS service was released last fall. It had been requested by 2nd District Congressman Lee Terry, R-Neb. ((01 APR 2011))






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