A top TransCanada executive claims opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have been spreading misinformation and asserts the route chosen will have the least impact on Nebraska’s environment.
After hearing five hours of criticism, TransCanada Vice President Robert Jones lashes out, accusing those against the Keystone XL pipeline of spreading fear and of outright misrepresentation, but is more subdued when asked by a member of the Natural Resources Committee about letters threatening eminent domain procedures against landowners unwilling to accept TransCanada’s offer for easements.
“I totally understand landowners being threatened by that, because you have to say you the right,” Jones answers when asked by a committee member. “And utilities do have the right.”
Committee members, even some reluctant to support oil pipeline legislation working its way through the special legislative session, express sympathy to landowners who have complained about dealings with TransCanada. Several property owners complain that representatives of TransCanada have used intimidation and bullying tactics in trying to reach agreement on payment for the easements needed to build the 36’ pipeline through Nebraska.
Jones tells committee members there is no need to change the route of the pipeline, through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer.
“We sincerely believe that this route is the best route and causes the least impact to the environment,” according to Jones.
Others testifying before the committee have cast doubt on that claim. A couple of professors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln tell committee members Keystone XL hasn’t undergone the right type of environmental study during its three-year presidential permit process. The pipeline needs a presidential permit, because it is proposed to begin in western Canada and weave its way for 1,700 miles through the middle of the United States to refineries in Texas along the Gulf Coast.
Jones says if legislation passes this special session it could delay the $7 billion project for months if not years.