Protesters are calling for President Obama to forbid TransCanada from running the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline through Nebraska’s sand hills and Ogalala aquifer, but not everyone is against the pipeline.
State Senator Tyson Larson, of O’Neill, has the current Keystone pipeline in the east part of his district, while the proposed XL line would run through the west side. Larson says there’s support for moving the proposed route.
“The constituents there really like it and I’ve had a number of them tell me they’d love to have the second one,” Larson says. “I’m kind of on the same side as the governor and by no means am I anti-pipeline but rerouting it toward where the first pipeline went through in Cedar County would be best for everybody.”
Governor Dave Heineman has sent a letter to the U-S State Department and to President Obama asking them to prohibit the pipeline from entering the state. Larson says he’s concerned opposition to the pipeline will cost counties some development possibilities.
“They’ll miss out on added valuations on their tax base,” he says. “They’ll miss out on some direct investment into their community. Obviously, they’ll miss out economically but the people of the western part of my district do not think the short-term economic development and the added property tax value base is worth the potential risk of the pipeline.”
State Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm is calling for a special session on the pipeline and Larson says that’s a good idea, with a caveat.
“I’d support a special session but…if there is a special session, I think it’s important we have some agreed-upon solution before we go in or we’ll be there for a long time, wasting a lot of taxpayers’ dollars with no solution in sight,” Larson says.
Governor Heineman says he is opposed to that prospect and vows he will not call senators back to Lincoln.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton