Gov. repeats call to deny pipeline permit

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September 28th, 2011

Omaha, NE – Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman again urged the U.S. State Department to deny the permit to build a controversial pipeline through Nebraska. But he says it may be a “done deal.”

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Gov. Heineman put the pipeline permit squarely in the hands of the Obama administration Wednesday. (Photo courtesy State of Nebraska)

Hundreds of Nebraskans lined up to speak for and against the pipeline Tuesday at a rowdy public hearing before the State Department. The proposed line would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. In so doing, it would cross several states as well as Nebraska’s largest underground water reservoir: the Ogallala aquifer.

“I still think the majority of Nebraskans agree with me,” he said. “They support the pipeline, but we’re opposed to the route. Why would you risk the chance of a spill or a leak over the Ogallala Aquifer, and the possible contamination of our water? It doesn’t make sense.”

Governor Heineman said he has urged officials from TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, to re-route it away from the Ogallala aquifer. But he said he doesn’t believe they will, as long as they think the State Department will grant the permit.

Though Heineman has been asked to call a special session in the Nebraska Legislature to invoke state action to stop the pipeline, he said that power is out of his hands. And he put the ball squarely in the court of the Obama administration.

“Are they really suggesting that the State of Nebraska can pre-empt the President of the United States when he says it’s in the national interest?” he asked. “Are they suggesting that we can ignore the federal Interstate Commerce Clause? That state law can circumvent federal law? Now, if we can, please send that to me, I’ll be glad to take full responsibility and accountability for these issues where I can totally ignore what the federal government is doing.”

A second public hearing on the pipeline is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Atkinson, Nebraska.

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