Not all the bills filed in the special legislative session would affect the route an oil pipeline might take.
Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln proposes two bills on ancillary issues of oil pipeline construction.
Avery says the motivation of one of his bills, LB3, came after a meeting with Holt County landowners who complained that TransCanada threatened to use eminent domain if they didn’t accept the company’s offer to purchase property within 30 days.
“They don’t even have a permit,” Avery tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I thought that was inappropriate. I thought it was intimating for landowners to have to deal with them in that manner.”
Avery’s bill would require a company to obtain either a federal or state permit before exercising the power of eminent domain. It is scheduled to be heard by the Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.
His other bill, LB6, would require a company to post a $500 million indemnity bond before beginning construction of a pipeline. The Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the bill for Wednesday morning.
Avery says the five bills filed provide the means for the legislature to act in an appropriate manner on the controversial issue of TransCanada’s proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the Sand Hills and over the Ogallala Aquifer.
“For us to put together legislation that would provide the citizens of this state the voice they deserve in this process and it would pass constitutional muster and it would not involve special legislation,” says Avery. “I do believe we have the means to do that. Do we have the will to do that? I hope so.”