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NEWS: Keystone debate in Nebraska legislature today

Bloomberg reports, “Nebraska lawmakers today (Nov. 1) open a special legislative session to consider how the state might force TransCanada Corp. to re-route its $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline (so that its path wouldn’t cross the Ogallala aquifer, a major source of freshwater in Nebraska).”

If a re-routing were ordered, Keystone XL could be delayed for at least two to three more years.

“Bills introduced in the special session are expected to focus on three areas, said Senator Chris Langemeier, whose Natural Resources Committee will review the proposed laws next week. He expects bills that would give the state authority over pipeline routes, strengthen landowner rights to contest condemnation of land needed to build pipelines, and redefine liability for potential leaks so that landowners can obtain insurance. …Public hearings on bills that make it through committee review will begin Nov. 7, Langemeier said. The governor has said he expects the session to conclude before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 24.”

“Pipeline legislation designed to take effect immediately would require approval by a two-thirds majority, or 33 of the 49 senators in Nebraska’s non-partisan, one-house legislature.”

Take Action! On October 26, the Council of Canadians launched an e-mail campaign so that Canadians can send a message to all 49 members of the Nebraska legislature asking them to reject the currently proposed route of the 700,000 barrels-a-day Keystone XL pipeline across the Sand Hills and over the Ogallala aquifer. The action alert message also notes, “We understand that our ambassador to the United States has lobbied Governor Heineman to support Keystone XL, as has our consul-general based in Minneapolis. We want you to know that they do not speak for all Canadians.” To send your message to the Nebraska legislature, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2011/nebraska-keystoneXL.html.