State Officials Discuss Pipelines in Nebraska

By: Sabrina Ahmed 

The Public Service Commission heard arguments today on how pipeline locations in the future will be decided. 

Groups from around the state gathered in Lincoln today.  They shared their concerns about new siting regulations for pipelines in Nebraska.

Commissioner Jerry Vap said the public hearing by the PSC was to discuss the new regulations set forth by them, where they would approve the pipeline routes based on certain rules.

“It's a set of guidelines that lays out certain times when things have to be filed and have to be done,” Vap said.

The regulations will say when state agencies have to weigh in on the process and when public meetings will be held. Vap said most of the rules they have set are not controversial and will be passed.

One rule, mandating that groups say what materials will pass through the pipeline before it is built, is a concern to companies like Magellan that have pipelines in Nebraska.

“The regulations that have been proposed by the PSC attempt to deal with some things that get into safety and those are things that are very clearly regulated by the federal government,” Magellan's Tom Byers said.

Magellan said this is a safety concern and has nothing to do with PSC. But commissioners disagree.

“Doesn't say it's good or bad or it's dangerous, it just says 'file a document that says what it's gonna be'—it don't think that's getting into the safety part. It's asking for information,” Vap said.

As far as what to do with the documents when they are gathered, the commissioner said more legislation might have to come to know that.

From here, the rules PSC writes will be approved by the Attorney General, then the Governor.