Pipeline bill advances to full legislature

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November 10th, 2011

Lincoln, NE – A bill giving the governor authority to approve or disapprove oil pipeline routes was advanced to the full Legislature by the Natural Resources Committee Wednesday night.

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Following three days of often emotional testimony on oil pipeline, the Natural Resources Committee voted 7-1 to send a bill to the full Legislature.

After three days of emotional public hearings, the Natural Resources Committee advanced a bill that would give Gov. Heineman authority to deny the Keystone XL pipeline's proposed route. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

But the vote masked deep divisions on the committee, between senators who actually support the measure and those who simply want their fellow senators to have a chance to debate the issue.

Sen. Chris Langemeier of Schuyler is chairman of the committee. “I think you see a bill introduced before us on an issue that’s probably one of the biggest ones we’ve seen in our legislative careers,” he said. “And I think you see a committee dedicated to making sure the whole body has that discussion.”

Langemeier said the committee vote should not be taken as a sign for what the Legislature will do.

“I don’t think it gives any indication,” he said. “I think the vote was strictly not about a bill, it was about having a discussion as a Legislature. Also there’s no guarantee anything will pass or won’t pass. But again you saw the hope by a committee that understands that this is an issue for everyone to talk about.”

That debate is expected to begin next week.

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