Hey, Governor Daugaard! Looking for ideas for imposing additional safeguards on the risky and unnecessary Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline? Take a look at the six bills in Nebraska's legislative hopper right now:

  1. LB1, the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act, creates a pretty thorough state-level application process and makes the application pay for the state's investigation and hearing of the application (Section 7.2). The MOPS Act also lays the burden on the applicant to prove its proposed pipeline serves the public interest (Section 8.4).
  2. LB3 says pipeline companies can't use eminent domain until they have all necessary federal, state, and local permits in hand. (TransCanada has filed 24 eminent domain lawsuits in South Dakota alone, all while the State Department still considers the Keystone XL permit.)
  3. LB4 authorizes the governor to permit or deny oil pipeline applications and appoint the panel that studies and makes recommendations on such applications. (Dennis, you might like that one, but I'm not so sure....)
  4. LB5 prohibits laying pipelines larger than eight inches in diameter across environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands, cold-water streams, and the Nebraska Sand Hills.
  5. LB6 requires pipeline carriers laying pipe larger than 25 inches in diameter to file a proof of indemnity bond of $500 million. Uff da: get all five states affected to ask TransCanada to put up a bond like that, and we add $2.5 billion, nearly 35%, to the project's up-front cost. TransCanada's third-quarter net income was $391 million.

No pipeline-tax proposals have surfaced in the Nebraska special session. But if you want to take a business-friendly perspective, an ongoing tax might be easier on TransCanada than an upfront bond. A pipeline tax would also allow us to claw back some of the price increase we can expect from Keystone XL's clearing of the Cushing glut. And for Pete's sake, don't cap that pipeline tax at $30 million! If Nebraska can consider a $500 million bond to fund possible clean-up, we can certainly consider accumulating a similar amount from wealthy TransCanada over time.

So Governor Daugaard, watch those Nebraska proposals closely... and Rep. Hoffman, draft that pipeline tax!