The head of Bold Nebraska accuses the governor of lying about the state’s role in the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The governor dismisses the accusation.
Bold Nebraska Executive Director Jane Kleeb rejects Governor Heineman’s insistence that the route the Keystone XL oil pipeline takes will be determined by Washington.
“It’s actually a state law, not a federal law to decide where pipelines go within the state boundaries,” Kleeb tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KICS. “And so, Governor Heineman is lying to folks when he says that that’s the feds responsibility.”
Kleeb says Heineman should use the mantle of state’s rights to block TransCanada from building the pipeline through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer.
“Jane Kleeb has been a very partisan activist on this issue and, in general, for the Democratic Party,” Heineman tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview, responding to the accusation that he is lying about the state’s role in the issue.
“I don’t know what she means by that. This is a federal regulatory process. If they disapprove the permit, this pipeline won’t go forward,” according to Heineman, a Republican.
Heineman says the federal government is engaged in a federal regulatory process, not the state.
The $7 billion, 36-inch pipeline would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, crossing Nebraska and five other states. The proposed route would go through the Sand Hills in north-central Nebraska, which have porous soils and high water tables. A rupture in that part of the state would likely pour oil into the Ogallala Aquifer. A report issued by a University of Nebraska engineering professor suggests that a major spill could contaminate drinking water over a very wide area, perhaps as far downstream at Kansas City, Missouri. TransCanada disputes the findings, claiming that improved techniques and technology have greatly increased response time to pipeline breaks.
The State Department has announced it will hold public hearings in September at the Capitols of the six states the pipeline is proposed to cross. An additional hearing will be held in the Sand Hills.
State Department officials say the public hearings will give people a chance to voice their views on whether a Presidential Permit for the pipeline should be granted. A final environmental impact statement should be released in August. After its release, a 90-day review period will begin for federal agencies to comment on whether the pipeline would serve the national interest.
Tyson Havranek, KCIS, contributed to this report.