Nebraska Revised Statute 57-1503
Evaluation of route; supplemental environmental impact statement; department; powers and duties; pipeline carrier; reimburse cost; submit to Governor; duty; denial; notice to pipeline carrier; documents or records; not withheld from public.
(1)(a) The department may:
(i) Evaluate any route for an oil pipeline within, through, or across the state and submitted by a pipeline carrier for the stated purpose of being included in a federal agency's or agencies' National Environmental Policy Act review process. Any such evaluation shall include at least one public hearing, provide opportunities for public review and comment, and include, but not be limited to, an analysis of the environmental, economic, social, and other impacts associated with the proposed route and route alternatives in Nebraska. The department may collaborate with a federal agency or agencies and set forth the responsibilities and schedules that will lead to an effective and timely evaluation; or
(ii) Collaborate with a federal agency or agencies in a review under the National Environmental Policy Act involving a supplemental environmental impact statement for oil pipeline projects within, through, or across the state. Prior to entering into such shared jurisdiction and authority, the department shall collaborate with such agencies to set forth responsibilities and schedules for an effective and timely review process.
(b) A pipeline carrier that has submitted a route for evaluation or review pursuant to subdivision (1)(a) of this section shall reimburse the department for the cost of the evaluation or review within sixty days after notification from the department of the cost. The department shall remit any reimbursement to the State Treasurer for credit to the Department of Environmental Quality Cash Fund.
(2) The department may contract with outside vendors in the process of preparation of a supplemental environmental impact statement or an evaluation conducted under subdivision (1)(a) of this section. The department shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that each vendor has no conflict of interest or relationship to any pipeline carrier that applies for an oil pipeline permit.
(3) In order for the process to be efficient and expeditious, the department's contracts with vendors pursuant to this section for a supplemental environmental impact statement or an evaluation conducted under subdivision (1)(a) of this section shall not be subject to the Nebraska Consultants' Competitive Negotiation Act or sections 73-301 to 73-306 or 73-501 to 73-510.
(4) After the supplemental environmental impact statement or the evaluation conducted under subdivision (1)(a) of this section is prepared, the department shall submit it to the Governor. Within thirty days after receipt of the supplemental environmental impact statement or the evaluation conducted under subdivision (1)(a) of this section from the department, the Governor shall indicate, in writing, to the federal agency or agencies involved in the review or any other appropriate federal agency or body as to whether he or she approves any of the routes reviewed in the supplemental environmental impact statement or the evaluation conducted under subdivision (1)(a) of this section. If the Governor does not approve any of the reviewed routes, he or she shall notify the pipeline carrier that in order to obtain approval of a route in Nebraska the pipeline carrier is required to file an application with the Public Service Commission pursuant to the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act.
(5) The department shall not withhold any documents or records relating to an oil pipeline from the public unless the documents or records are of the type that can be withheld under section 84-712.05 or unless federal law provides otherwise.
Absent a supermajority concurrence, the Nebraska Supreme Court could not invalidate a statute giving the Governor authority to approve an interstate oil pipeline carrier's proposed route through the State and bestow upon the carrier the power to exercise eminent domain, despite the majority's conclusion that the legislation is facially unconstitutional because it transfers the Public Service Commission's constitutional powers over common carriers to the Governor. Thompson v. Heineman, 289 Neb. 798, 857 N.W.2d 731 (2015).
Under the citizen taxpayer exception for matters of "great public concern," an exception to the injury-in-fact standing requirement, landowners had standing to challenge the constitutionality of legislation giving the Governor the authority to approve a major oil pipeline route and thereby bestow upon the carrier the power to exercise eminent domain. Thompson v. Heineman, 289 Neb. 798, 857 N.W.2d 731 (2015).