LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's newest candidate for the U.S. Senate has worked in court against allowing TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to move forward in the state. Now he is campaigning to have the opportunity to express his concerns about the oil pipeline and other issues in Congress.
Attorney David Domina launched his campaign Tuesday with a speech in the Capitol Rotunda, where he said oil pipelines are necessary but blasted TransCanada as irresponsible.
"That company has to be a responsible corporate citizen and has to display the ability to be a neighbor to the people it's going to punch its line through or it's not fit to build the pipeline," said Domina, who represents Nebraska landowners challenging the state law that allowed TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to proceed.
TransCanada has been operating in Nebraska since the 1980s and has worked hard to be a good neighbor, said spokesman Shawn Howard. For example, the Judiciary Committee agreed TransCanada followed Nebraska rules and processes relating to eminent domain, he said.
"TransCanada has worked very hard to be open and responsive to all landowner concerns, including those who may not support our pipeline," he said.
The proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline would bring oil from Canada's oil sands and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to oil refineries near Houston. Backers say the project would create jobs and boost North American energy independence. Environmental groups have derided the proposed pipeline as a major contributor to global warming and say they are worried about spills of tar sands oil, which is heavier than conventional oil.
Domina also discussed the federal health care overhaul, saying that the law has problems, but it should be fixed, not thrown out. For example, he said, the enrollment process is cumbersome.
"The debate over whether we should throw it out or not distracts form solving the problem, which is 46 million uninsured Americans and a whole lot, millions and millions more with health care costs that they can't afford anymore," he said.
Domina also spoke about gun control, saying he supports Americans constitution right to own weapons but also supports "reasonable restrictions." Private citizens should not be allowed to be armed equally with the military, Domina said.
"I do not believe the Second Amendment is different from any other parts of the United States Constitution in this sense: There are reasonable restrictions on every constitutional right — the right to speak, the right to exercise religion — all of them and that applies to gun control too," he said.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler also attended the event in support of Domina.
Four Republicans are also running for Senate: Sid Dinsdale, Bart McLeay, Shane Osborn, and Ben Sasse. Jim Jenkins is running as an independent.
The Nebraska Republican Party is focused on its primary, set for May 13, said Bud Synhorst, executive director for the Nebraska Republican Party.
"We welcome him to the race," he said of Domina. "It's going to be a very competitive race."