Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
The special session of the Nebraska Legislature is over and Nebraska now has an oil pipeline siting process. I signed LB 1 and LB 4 into law on Tuesday, November 22nd.
LB 4 will address the circumstances that exist regarding the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will now work with the U.S. Department of State to develop a Memorandum of Understanding on how to move forward.
Additionally, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will contract with an engineering firm to conduct a supplemental environmental impact statement of any new pipeline segments that avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills area of Nebraska. Once this process is completed, the findings of the supplemental environmental impact statement will be submitted for my review.
As Governor, I am required to recommend to the U.S. Department of State the approval or disapproval of the proposed route. The Obama Administration will then make the final decision about building the Keystone XL Pipeline.
LB1 outlines the procedures for siting any future oil pipeline in the State of Nebraska. This law will require an oil pipeline carrier proposing to construct a major oil pipeline to be placed in operation in Nebraska after November 23, 2011, to file an application with the Public Service Commission and receive approval before beginning construction. Extensive procedures are contained in the law for the Commission to follow before it ultimately decides whether a proposed oil pipeline would serve the public interest.
I want to thank the citizens of Nebraska for their thoughtful, sincere comments during this process. You expressed your opinions at two State Department hearings in Atkinson and Lincoln in late September. You shared your thoughts at three days of public hearings during the special session of the Legislature.
Several members of the Legislature and I had separate meetings with the U.S. Department of State about Nebraska's concerns. These meetings were useful, productive and positive.
I really appreciate the work of the Legislature during the special session. The end result is a Nebraska common sense solution that is reflected in LB 1 and LB 4. Citizen input made the difference.