The special session got underway last week with introduction of six legislative bills, one of which authorizes the expenses of the Legislature. The remaining five bills relate to oil pipelines. Senator Annette Dubas of Fullerton, Senator Chris Langemeier of Schuyler, and Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm have each introduced legislation that would put a process in place to give Nebraska siting authority over oil pipelines. The three bills take a different approach as to who would have the authority to grant or deny certification of an oil pipeline. LB1, introduced by Senator Dubas, would place that authority in the hands of the Public Service Commission (PSC). LB4, introduced by Senator Langemeier, would instead authorize the Governor to make the ultimate determination. LB5, introduced by Senator Haar, would also authorize the PSC to make the decision, but instead of evaluating several economic and environmental factors like in LB1 and LB4, the decision would be based solely on whether the pipeline route extends through particular areas of the state, like the Sandhills or areas where the ground water is particularly close to the surface. I am evaluating each of these bills to determine which is the best approach to siting legislation and will work with my colleagues to see that siting legislation is fully debated.In addition to the siting legislation, Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln introduced a bill, LB3, which clarifies that eminent domain may only be used by a company that has applied for and been granted any controlling federal or state permit. This bill has been referenced to the Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, and I will work to advance this bill to the full Legislature. Senator Avery also introduced a bill, LB6, requiring an oil pipeline company to have a $500 million indemnity bond with proof of such bond filed with the State of Nebraska to be used by landowners or counties aggrieved by damages to land, infrastructure, or natural resources.Hearings on these five bills are scheduled Monday, November 7, through Wednesday, November 9. If you have any questions about the introduced legislation, please feel free to contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Tyson Larson