York County Board Votes 4-1 to Reject
Pipeline Zoning Regulations
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
YORK, NE -- York County commissioners followed the recommendation of their county attorney and voted 4-1 on Tuesday morning to reject proposed zoning regulation of underground transmission lines including pipelines. Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence (NJEI) steadfastly opposed the proposed regulations over the last eighteen months as they were discussed, developed and debated.
"The most vocal proponents of the pipeline regulations in York county are leading opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline," said Chris Peterson, spokesman for NJEI. "They represent a tiny minority of Nebraskans who have believe the falsehoods and misrepresentations promoted by extremist environmental groups including Bold Nebraska. Fortunately, the York county attorney wasn't intimidated by their tactics and recommended the county board reject the regulations."
While county attorney Candace Dick was not in attendance, board chairman Bill Bamesberger shared Dick's recommendation including that it was based on the unclear nature of the proposed regulations as well as concerns about the county's ability to defend the regulations against a legal challenge.
Peterson testified at Tuesday's meeting, thanking the board for a deliberative and thoughtful consideration of the regulation issue over a period that began in mid-2013. He noted that the Keystone XL project is the most studied major infrastructure project in the history of the United States. Government studies have consistently concluded the project would be the safest pipeline ever built, boost the economy, create jobs, provide a windfall in local property tax revenue for schools and counties, and would not contribute significantly to an increase in green-house gas emissions.
Chairman Bamesberger and commissioners Kurt Bulgrin, Randy Obermier and Jack Sikes voted to reject the regulations while board member Paul Buller voted against rejecting the regulations.