TransCanada: Nebraska pipeline siting effort likely unconstitutional

Efforts by Nebraska’s legislature to influence siting of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline likely would be found unconstitutional, TransCanada Corp., the project’s sponsor, said on Oct. 31 as it release legal memorandums prepared at its request by two law firms. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) said on Oct. 24 that he would call the state’s unicameral legislature into special session for that purpose starting Nov. 1.

TransCanada noted that Sidley Austin LLP, an international law firm, and McGrath North Mullin & Kratz PC LLO, an Omaha, Neb., law firm, prepared the memos at its request. Both firms have extensive experience analyzing and litigating constitutional issues, it added.

TransCanada said in a statement that the US Constitution and federal law give federal agencies, and not individual states, the role in determining whether a proposed interstate pipeline’s route poses environmental risks, and to weigh such risks against the project’s economic and other benefits.

Any pipeline siting act passed by Nebraska’s legislature in the special session would be targeted exclusively at stopping or redirecting Keystone XL, constituting discrimination against interstate commerce, the project’s sponsor continued.

“Congress has delegated the regulation of interstate pipeline safety exclusively to the federal government, not to individual states,” it said. “States cannot avoid that restriction simply by taking the word ‘safety’ out of pipeline siting legislation. It is the impact of a law—not its wording—that determines whether it is prohibited pipeline safety legislation. A bill intended to keep the Keystone XL pipeline out of the Ogallala Aquifer obviously would be pipeline safety legislation.”

TransCanada added that federal pipeline safety legislation already protects areas such as the Ogallala Aquifer, Nebraska’s primary underground freshwater source, which are unusually sensitive to environmental damage from a pipeline accident. “Based on the federal Pipeline Safety Act and the federal government's comprehensive regulation, state legislation that intrudes into this area is unconstitutional,” it said.

Alex Pourbaix, president of TransCanada's Energy & Oil Pipelines division, said the company felt it was important for Nebraskans to hear from all sides in this debate. He said that Sen. Mike Flood, the Nebraska legislature’s speaker, recently identified pipeline siting concerns following his own legal analysis which were similar to the findings of TransCanada’s outside counsels’ legal analysis. Heineman also said in an Oct. 25 press conference announcing the special session that legislators may find they do not have legal or constitutional grounds to move forward with siting legislation, Pourbaix said on Oct. 31.

The legislature was scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. CDT on Nov. 1 and begin public hearings on any proposed pipeline siting legislation on Nov. 7, according to information at its web site. The session is expected to last at least 2 weeks, it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

BLM approves ROW for Elko gas pipeline expansion project

07/07/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Tuscarora, Nev., field office signed a decision record approving a right-of-way for Paiute Pipeline Co.’s (PPC) ...

Obama urged by IPAA president to lift ban on US crude exports

07/07/2015 Commending the administration for its actions allowing some condensate to be exported as a petroleum product, Independent Petroleum Association of ...

Woodside lets contracts for Browse LNG project

07/06/2015 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has let more contracts for the Browse floating LNG project offshore Western Australia. The contracts, awarded to a Technip-...

The price of oil and OPEC-history repeating?

07/06/2015 The world oil market today is characterized by a standoff between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers a...

US House committee leaders send letters to Plains, PHMSA about leak

07/06/2015 US House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders from both parties asked Plains Pipeline LP and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Admini...

Total unveils development sites for renamed Papua LNG project

07/06/2015 Total SA and its joint venture partners Oil Search Ltd. and InterOil have announced key infrastructure sites for development of the proposed Elk-An...

Natural gas opposition has shifted to transportation, speakers say

07/06/2015 Opposition to natural gas projects has moved from exploration and production to transportation, speakers said during a discussion on Capitol Hill o...

Global oil glut continues despite increasing demand

07/06/2015 A year since crude prices plunged, oversupply lingers, evident in a record-setting stock build, as production by members of the Organization of Pet...

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected