Gov. Dave Heineman isn’t sure Congress should link the Keystone XL pipeline with the payroll tax cut, but is sure that the federal government needs to speed up the process to approve the pipeline.
Heineman expresses dismay about the lack of progress on a number of issues by Congress, but…
“Well, I certainly support expediting everything that we’re doing with the Keystone project,” says Heineman.
Heineman notes HDR of Omaha has been chosen to conduct an environmental study of a route around the Sand Hills. The state Department of Environmental Quality is working with the State Department and TransCanada on an alternative route.
He says state officials are moving forward.
“We’re very much in agreement. Our argument has always been, we were only opposed to the route. We support the building of the pipeline to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil,” according to Heineman. “So, yes, let’s get moving. We’re talking about jobs.”
TransCanada proposes building a $7 billion 1,700 mile oil pipeline to carry crude oil made from the tar sands of western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. It needs a presidential permit to enter the country. The State Department has said it will delay consideration of the permit until 2013. Some members of Congress have argued that since Nebraska reached a deal with TransCanada to move the pipeline away from the Sand Hills, the State Department should move more quickly on the pending permit.
Republican leaders in the United States House have attached the Keystone XL pipeline permit to its bill to extend the payroll tax cut. It is believed to have no chance of passing in the Senate. Congress cut the Social Security payroll tax rate from 6.2% to 4.2% this year to leave more money in paychecks in an effort to give consumers more spending power to help an anemic economy.