I recently signed up to run the Warrior Dash which is some sort of 3 + mile obstacle course through mud, fire and brimstone. The Warrior Dash twitter page boasts that “It’s the craziest frickin’ day of your life!” @WarriorDash Over-exaggeration aside, I asked one friend who has been through it whether the Warrior Dash was tough. His response was, “Yeah, it’s pretty tough, but not as tough as getting an oil pipeline built through Nebraska.”
Okay, admittedly the intro was a set up. But I am registered to run the Warrior Dash on June 9, 2012 and fully expect to face several completely unecessary and probably humiliating obstacles; including the wall of fire. To answer your question, I have absolutely nothing better to do. No, seriously, I don’t. On the other hand, the builders of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, figure there are better uses of its time than fighting the numerous legal obstacles in the path of its proposed pipeline from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
TransCanada probably thought it had cleared the Nebraska portion of the obstacle course when it agreed to re-route the proposed pipeline so the oil would not be piped through the Sand Hills. This spring the Nebraska legislature passed LB 1161 which would essentially fast track the environmental review of the newly proposed route through the Nebraska DEQ (NDEQ) rather than through the Nebraska Public Service Commission and give Governor Dave Heineman the final say on the project. The Nebraska path finally looked clear for TransCanada.
However, more roadblocks were put up on Wednesday when a lawsuit financially backed by the Sierra Club of Nebraska and Bold Nebraska was filed with the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Lancaster County District Court. The petitioners claim LB 1161 unconstitutionally transfers regulatory authority over oil pipelines from the Nebraska Public Service Commission to the State Governor and NDEQ. The petitioners also claim that the the bill failed to specifically instruct the governor and/or DEQ on how to conduct the environmental review and failed to allow legal challenges to the governor’s final decision.
As reported in the World Herald article, petitioner Susan Dunavan stated “The Nebraska state motto is ‘Equality Before the Law,’ but our Legislature and governor gave special favors to a foreign corporation but did not even listen to their own Nebraska constituents.” The petitioners are looking to nullify LB 1161 which would essentially delay the review process and possibly allow for additional opposition down the road.
In follow-up to the lawsuit, the NDEQ will continue to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project unless ordered by the court to stop. Paul Hammel reported: TransCanada claims further delay will deny Americans “the benefits of a stable, secure supply of oil from U.S. fields and from Canada, instead of relying on conflict oil from Venezuela and Iran.”
At some point running the Warrior Dash I will question “is this worth it?” I wonder if TransCanada is questioning that now?