SB 161, the pipeline environmental tax, fell one vote short of passing yesterday. 23 Senators, a bipartisan group including everyone from Republicans Abdallah and Howie to Democrats Jerstad and Nesselhuf, voted aye. Unfortunately, as a new tax, this bill required a two-thirds majority, and in our 35-seat Senate, that's 24 votes. District 8's Republican Senator Russell Olson voted no, consistent with his lone committee nay the day before.
Would someone please tell me what is so wrong with imposing a two-cent-per-barrel tax on an oil pipeline to create an environmental fund to pay for cleaning up anything that goes wrong with the pipeline? Does Senator Olson really think environmental accountability (capped at $30 million) will put TransCanada or any other pipeline operator out of business?
Of course, We can perhaps place equal blame on Senator Dennis Schmidt, who was "excused" from the vote. Someone move to reconsider, drag Schmidt's keester back into the chamber, and take another swing at this bill!
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