District #41 State Senator Kate Sullivan along with Unicameral Speaker Mike Flood and two other state senators will meet Tuesday with Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines for TransCanada, to discuss siting issues with the proposed Keystone pipeline being proposed to be located in Nebraska.
At the urging of Flood, Sullivan, and state senators Chris Langemeier of Schuyler and Annette Dubas of Fullerton will sit down with Pourbaix to discuss siting issues. Scheduled to be held Tuesday in Norfolk, the meeting could come just days before a decision on whether or not a special session of the legislature will be called to deal with the issue.
TransCanada is seeking a federal permit to construct and operate the oil pipeline.
Flood will serve as the facilitator for the meeting, Langemeier is currently chairman of the Legislature’s Natural Resources committee; Dubas has proposed legislation that could become the starting point for a special session; and Sullivan played a pivotal role in introducing pipeline legislation passed during the regular legislative session earlier this year requiring crude-oil pipeline companies to reclaim any land disturbed by construction or operation of such a project during its lifetime.
Flood said before a special session could be called, state senators first have more work to do.
“I’m here to assure the citizens of this state that your Legislature will be responsive and will act responsibly as it relates to the issues presented by TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the effort currently under way to call a special session,” he said earlier this week.
Flood said the goal of Norfolk meeting is to see if there is any ground that can be reached on the route of the proposed pipeline — a route an increasing number of Nebraskans oppose — and to determine if there’s a way forward, he said.
According to published reports, Flood took issue with recent comments from Gov. Dave Heineman, who has suggested that the Legislature is hiding from the issue. “No one is hiding,” he said. “It’s unreasonable to suggest that within 36 hours of seeing Sen. Dubas’ bill, everyone should have a reasoned opinion. This is too tough of an issue.”
Dubas has released proposed legislation that would give the state authority to say where the pipeline would go.