Two bills on oil pipeline regulations appear in shape to pass during the special legislative session.
Natural Resources Committee Chairman Chris Langemeier of Schuyler carries the bill that carries out the agreement to move the proposed route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline away from the Sand Hills. Senators have amended and moved the bill forward.
“Oh, I think we’re well on our way to getting that passed, because I think it makes sense for Nebraskans,” Langemeier tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Langemeier sponsors LB4, though it looks nothing like the bill he filed at the beginning of the session. The original bill has been gutted and replaced with language drafted by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk to conform to the deal struck with TransCanada last week.
Senators approved amendments to LB4 that call for the state to pay for a supplemental environmental impact study, necessary to settling on a new route for Keystone XL. The study could cost up to $2 million. The governor must sign off on the new route and inform the State Department of his approval.
Senators earlier advanced a bill sponsored by Senator Annette Dubas of Fullerton that would give the Public Service Commission authority to approve oil pipeline routes. It pertains only to future oil pipelines and would not apply to the Keystone XL pipeline.
The bill, LB1, advanced in the special session even though a few senators expressed reservations about it. Those senators asked Dubas to address their concerns. She has a redrafted version ready to present to the legislature this morning and feels confident of his advancement and ultimate passage.
“I feel really good about what we’ve done and that we are putting forward a very responsible piece of policy that will serve us well into the future,” Dubas tells Nebraska Radio Network.