Nebraska Revised Statute 57-1407
Commission; duties; public meetings; agency reports; approval by commission; considerations.
(1) After receipt of an application under section 57-1405, the commission shall:
(a) Within sixty days, schedule a public hearing;
(b) Notify the pipeline carrier of the time, place, and purpose of the public hearing;
(c) Publish a notice of the time, place, and purpose of the public hearing in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the major oil pipeline is to be constructed; and
(d) Serve notice of the public hearing upon the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities through which the proposed route of the major oil pipeline would be located as specified in subdivision (2)(d) of section 57-1405.
(2) The commission may hold additional public meetings for the purpose of receiving input from the public at locations as close as practicable to the proposed route of the major oil pipeline. The commission shall make the public input part of the record.
(3) If requested by the commission, the following agencies shall file a report with the commission, prior to the hearing on the application, regarding information within the respective agencies' area of expertise relating to the impact of the major oil pipeline on any area within the respective agencies' jurisdiction, including in such report opinions regarding the advisability of approving, denying, or modifying the location of the proposed route of the major oil pipeline: The Department of Environment and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Transportation, the Game and Parks Commission, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the State Fire Marshal, and the Board of Educational Lands and Funds. The agencies may submit a request for reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for any consultants hired pursuant to this subsection.
(4) An application under the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act shall be approved if the proposed route of the major oil pipeline is determined by the Public Service Commission to be in the public interest. The pipeline carrier shall have the burden to establish that the proposed route of the major oil pipeline would serve the public interest. In determining whether the pipeline carrier has met its burden, the commission shall not evaluate safety considerations, including the risk or impact of spills or leaks from the major oil pipeline, but the commission shall evaluate:
(a) Whether the pipeline carrier has demonstrated compliance with all applicable state statutes, rules, and regulations and local ordinances;
(b) Evidence of the impact due to intrusion upon natural resources and not due to safety of the proposed route of the major oil pipeline to the natural resources of Nebraska, including evidence regarding the irreversible and irretrievable commitments of land areas and connected natural resources and the depletion of beneficial uses of the natural resources;
(c) Evidence of methods to minimize or mitigate the potential impacts of the major oil pipeline to natural resources;
(d) Evidence regarding the economic and social impacts of the major oil pipeline;
(e) Whether any other utility corridor exists that could feasibly and beneficially be used for the route of the major oil pipeline;
(f) The impact of the major oil pipeline on the orderly development of the area around the proposed route of the major oil pipeline;
(g) The reports of the agencies filed pursuant to subsection (3) of this section; and
(h) The views of the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities in the area around the proposed route of the major oil pipeline.
The Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act places the burden of proof on the applicant. In re Application No. OP-0003, 303 Neb. 872, 932 N.W.2d 653 (2019).
The standard of proof applicable to proceedings under the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act is preponderance of the evidence. In re Application No. OP-0003, 303 Neb. 872, 932 N.W.2d 653 (2019).