Bill would put Sand Hills off-limits to oil pipelines (AUDIO)

Sen. Haar speaks with the Clerk of the Legislature during bill introduction/Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Office

A state senator wants to restrict where oil pipelines can be built in Nebraska.
Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm says he has patterned his bill after North Dakota law.
“It basically says there’s certain parts you can’t build a pipeline through, this would be a crude oil pipeline, certain places you can’t go through with a crude oil pipeline,” Haar says.
Haar’s legislation, LB5, would prohibit the construction of crude oil pipelines through the Sand Hills, in Class A Watersheds, and where the groundwater is 10 feet or less from the surface for more than 10 miles.
Haar says the practical effect of his legislation would be to force TransCanada to move the Keystone XL pipeline away from the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. Haar says the bill is similar to North Dakota law, which establishes exclusionary zones.
“Once you have the zones defined, pipelines are going to honor that,” according to Haar. “In North Dakota for example, Keystone I went through North Dakota and it did not go through any of North Dakota’s exclusionary zones. They avoided those.”
The bill sponsored by Haar will be the final oil pipeline regulation bill filed in this special legislative session. The deadline for introducing bills during the session has past. Two other routing bills have been introduced. Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton would give the Public Service Commission authority over pipeline routes. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Chris Langemeier of Schuyler has filed a bill that would give the governor the authority to decide the route of oil pipelines.
Two other, related measures have been filed by Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln, who has filed two pieces of legislation: one dealing with eminent domain, the other would require a pipeline company to post a $500 million bond.
AUDIO: Sen. Ken Haar discusses bill with reporters [4:30 mp3]