The Senate Taxation Committee has deferred a bill dealing with pipeline taxes. Sponsors hope the bill encourages companies to make pipelines with American products.
Senate Bill 158 puts a tariff on crude oil pipelines made of foreign steel. The bill also takes that revenue and puts it in a fund to pay pipeline leaks and clean up. Certain sections also place accountability for failure to pay the tariff on company officials.
The bill’s prime sponsor is Senator Troy Heinert. He says the bill is about promoting American jobs and businesses.
“TransCanada is about making money, they’re a business, and they’re a corporation. And they’re going to do whatever they can to make as much profit as they can, which I’m not against, I’m not against corporations making money, I’m not against businesses making money, but that’s the simple answer. It’s easier to go get subsidized foreign steel than it is to use our own American steel, and that’s what the bill is talking about. This is about do we value American steel? Or are we going to say: ‘You know, you guys do whatever you want, we’ll sit by and watch’,” says Heinert.
The bill’s opponents say the bill is unnecessary and plenty of safeguards are already in place. Several committee members also questioned the constitutionality of the bill. Drew Duncan is a registered lobbyist for TransCanada.
“TransCanada feels this bill is unconstitutional. It’s certainly a violation of what we think of both of the US Constitution, the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. We’ve done a full review of that also DNR did a review of that in 2008, and has suggested that these bills are equally unconstitutional,” says Duncan.
The bill was deferred to the 41st Day by a six to one vote.