The State Department Inspector General will review the handling of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline to determine whether all federal laws and regulations were followed. A report surfaced earlier that the group that conducted the environmental impact review for the State Department has ties to TransCanada.
United States Sen. Ben Nelson, during a telephone news conference with Nebraska reporters, said he had seen reports swirling in Washington that the State Department might either delay its decision on TransCanada’s application for a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline or force a change to the proposed oil pipeline route through Nebraska. One report claimed that State Department officials have considered postponing a decision on the permit until late in 2012, perhaps even after the 2012 elections. Nelson told reporters those rumors might well be unfounded and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the legislature acting in its special session.
“It is unfortunate that the Legislature is dealing with this now rather than three years ago, two years ago, or even last session,” Senator Nelson said. “Had the state of Nebraska worked with TransCanada on the route in the beginning of this process, they wouldn’t be in crisis mode trying to address it now.”
Still, Nelson said it’s not too late to act.
“It’s a state’s rights issue, purely and simply, and what good are state’s rights if elected officials refuse to exercise them and let Washington make the decisions for them, directly or through acquiescence?” Nelson asked.
Nelson characterized approval of oil pipeline legislation by Nebraska lawmakers as a “belt and suspender” approach.