The decision by Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy this week to overturn Nebraska’s law regarding the Keystone XL oil pipeline, stating the authority to approve the project should rest with the Public Service Commission and not with Gov. Dave Heineman.
Now the question if the bill is unconstitutional how did it pass in the first place?
Papillion – La Vista State Senator Jim Smith introduced the pipeline siting bill (LB1161) and says it was a well thought-out piece of legislation. He says there was a lot of discussion between his office, other senators and legal counsel.
Senator Smith says before 2011 there was no sighting authority in Nebraska for major oil pipelines and that was one of the things they faced in the original routes from the Department of State in their final environmental economic statement. When they went into the 2011 session that is when they decided that laws needed to be in place. In the special legislative session that year is when it was decided they would divide the responsibility between the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Public Service Commission. Senator Smith says at that time the Public Service Commission didn’t have the rules and regulations in place but the Department of Environmental quality did so that is why they moved in that direction.
Senator Smith says what is being implied is there was not adequate public input. He denies that stating there was public input every step of the way.