Omaha World-Herald

How serious is TransCanada, Inc., about building its Keystone XL pipeline?

If money for lobbying Nebraska state senators is any indication, very. With a capital "V."

During the fourth quarter of 2011, when the Nebraska Legislature held a special session on the pipeline, TransCanada reported $529,099 in lobbying and legal expenses.

That spending works out to about $10,800 for each of the 49 senators during those three months—or nearly as much as a lawmaker's annual $12,000 salary.

TransCanada's spending was 12 times more than the total reported by all anti-pipeline organizations, according to recently released state reports.

The reports include fees paid to lobbyists, expenses including entertainment and gifts, and legal bills in some cases. Those costs represent only part of total spending in recent years, including advertising expenses, on both sides of the pipeline debate.

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