The people fight harder than the politicians

31 Jan

Our state senators are finally introducing some legislation that affects the Keystone XL.  I hope all of you realize that if you’ve made phone calls, written your state senator or just informed others about this issue, then you have helped make this happen.

With that said, the legislation is as follows:

LB 340, establishes state-based guidelines and oversight for oil pipelines

LB629, establishes a state-based certification process for oil pipelines

LB578, requires pipeline companies to be financially responsible for clean-up, decommissioning, maintenance to roads
Please contact your state senators and let them know you support these LBs. The Nebraska Unicameral contact information is as follows:

http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

 

Now, while this legislation is a step in the right direction and although contacting your senators is important, it is not enough. From what I can see, some of this legislation does not have the teeth it needs and sometimes our leaders need a reminder that they represent us…not a giant corporation. It is frustrating that while TransCanada makes assumptions about the approval of their project and prepares to build a pipeline that will cost us money at the pump here in the Midwest, our state senators have waited until the last minute to do anything.

Meanwhile, some of my friends recently got caught doing some public art protesting the Keystone XL and are now facing fines, losing their licenses and more. I find this amusing and more than a little ridiculous. People spraying a little paint on a wall in the name of informing the public about a threat face punishment, but TransCanada bullies landowners and threatens our water with impunity. Yes, someone has to pay for cleaning up the wall. but who the hell is going to pay for cleaning our aquifer once the pipeline leaks? Who will pay to restore the Sand hills? Not that either of these things can really be done adequately, but I don’t see TransCanada even offering. Our state senators have to demand that TransCanada does what they’re supposed to do.

So, contact your state senators and continue to fight back.  I, for one, like public art (I will post the pictures my friends took of their art), but whatever you feel comfortable doing will work.

Colleen

January 5th and beyond

8 Jan

The rally at the capitol building in Lincoln was a great success! I have plenty to write about, but until I get the chance to, I will leave you all with the summary from Bold Nebraska and Nebraskans for Peace. They did a great wrap up of the day’s events, so here you go:

(take from boldnebraska.org)

At noon, on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 over 100 Nebraskans gathered on the state capitol steps to ask our state elected officials to protect our land and water from TransCanada’s oil pipelines.

A broad array of individuals and groups were there to support protecting Nebraska’s water, including farmers, ranchers, urban dwellers, Bold Nebraska, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Farmers Union, Audubon Nebraska, League of Conservation Voters, Nebraska Green Party, Guardians of the Good Life, Nebraskans for Peace and the Nebraska chapter of 350.org.

A video of the rally and the speakers can be found at Bold Nebraska’s YouTube site

Still pictures from the event can be found in two locations:

Nebraskans for Peace’s facebook page.  If pictures are used on blogs or in print articles, credit should be given to photographer, Mark Welsch. He may be contacted at nfpomaha@Nebraskansforpeace.org if a higher quality picture is needed.

Bold Nebraska’s facebook page. If pictures are used, credit should be given to photographer Mitch Paine. If a higher quality picture is needed, contact info@boldnebraska.org.

While Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is responsible for granting or denying a permit to TransCanada to build a second pipeline across our state, this time crossing the fragile ecosystem of the Sandhills and the precious Ogallala Aquifer, our state elected officials have a role in other key areas.  

Our Nebraska state elected officials, our senators, Governor Heineman and Attorney General Bruning have a role in:

  • Siting and routing of pipelines
  • Eminent domain process and terms
  • Easement abandonment of unused/out of service pipe
  • Emergency response planning
  • Liability for spills
  • Regulation of neighboring land uses

They will have that role only if the legislature passes, and the Governor signs legislation giving them that power. Without these needed, common sense laws, our elected officials will allow the federal government and a foreign Canadian company to run roughshod over Nebraskans.

At the Capitol rally, Lancaster County Farmers Union President Wayne Frost from Saint Paul Nebraska, said that landowners, just this week, got more threats from TransCanada representatives about eminent domain taking their land, even though a permit has not been granted for this risky pipeline. This foreign company has seven people attempting to strong-arm Nebraskans into allowing them to put the tarsands pipeline on their land. Tarsands is the most polluting type of fuel in the world. Without a permit this foreign company has no right to even ask for eminent domain condemnation of ranchers’ and farmers’ land.

Mary Pipher, renowned author, speaker and organizer, said, “I’m a granddaughter of sodbusters. My great-grandparents homesteaded in Hitchcock County. Three of my grandchildren live in Merrick County, only a few miles from the proposed site of pipeline. Fighting this pipeline is not about politics. It is about protecting our homeland. On this issue, Republicans and Democrats, country people and city dwellers, business owners and ranchers are all in the same family. We are the family of people who live on the Great Plains. Ordinary Nebraskans are up against a powerful international corporation, who only wants to use our home to make money for their stockholders and executives. They do not care about our heritage or our ability to make a living or maintain our way of life. They do not care if our children drink from poisoned wells or develop cancer. They do not care if the pipeline endangers the aquifer or pollutes our ranches and farmland. They do not care because they are not Nebraskans. They do not live here and will not suffer serious consequences if things go wrong. We Nebraskans, including our legislators and Governor have the right to control and protect our homelands.”

Ms. Pipher concluded with, “Passive resignation will not save us. All Nebraskans must unite to say NO to the XL pipeline. We have a common cause. We are a family of people who live on the Great Plains. We will not let outsiders take our land and ruin it. I’m quoting President Abe Lincoln again, ‘The struggle of today is not all together for today but for the vast future also.’ We will work together to give our grandchildren a better life. Let’s get to work, together we can do this.”

Jane Kleeb said, “Over 800 Nebraskans have signed a petition saying they do not want a risky pipeline crossing the Sandhills and our land.  We are all watching to see if our state elected officials lead on this issue or allow a foreign company to bully landowners and threaten our main water source.” She concluded with, “Common sense as well as a vision for America being energy independent leaves us with one word for the pipeline, NO.”

After the rally, citizens visited and gave many state senators a plush Meadowlark toy, donated by Audubon Nebraska, that had a USB drive around its neck filled with up-to-date information and reports on the pipeline. This information is available on Bold Nebraska’s Pipeline Resource page

Our officials have the power to protect us from a foreign country’s corporation that is willing to risk our state’s health, safety, productivity and beauty in order to make money for their executives. We need bills passed this year to ensure the current Keystone pipeline is safe, any future ones do not cross sensitive areas and that our water, landowners, towns and way of life are protected.

Our elected officials must advocate to our federal government on behalf of the people of Nebraska.  Every citizen in this state can unite to protect Nebraska from the pollution, carcinogens and economic loss this pipeline would cause. Our quality of life is at stake.

Ready for the New Year?

10 Dec

Nebraska state legislature goes back into session January 5th. That means it’s time to organize and tell our leaders that it’s time they get their asses into gear. Nebraska’s water, land and future are at stake and still they hesitate to take a stand. At the Dec. 1st hearing of the Natural Resources Committee, they discussed the possible dangers posed by the pipeline, but any action ended there.

TransCanada isn’t sitting around and discussing the construction of this pipeline. They’re preparing for it. If we don’t do the same, they will plow through this state, and we will just be sitting ducks. (Or maybe sitting cranes would be more apt?) Nebraska doesn’t have the infrastructure, legally or otherwise, to deal with this pipeline. Keystone I leaked back in August and it was barely reported; TransCanada has bullied our landowners and barely got a slap on the wrist; there is no known plan for dealing with pipeline abandonment or the many other complications this pipeline will bring us; we are poised to be a leading state in alternative energy and this pipeline represents a disastrous step in the wrong direction. The list of problems the Keystone XL brings with it could go on for pages.

If you care about the future of Nebraska, clean water, a sustainable economy, state’s rights, or are just sick of seeing big oil (in its various forms) get what it wants when it wants, then please mark your calendars:

Jan. 5, noon-1pm at the State Capitol, 14 Street (between H and K Streets), Lincoln, NE.

Please join us.

Colleen

Use a vote like a knife

1 Nov

Elections are tomorrow, which means you have the chance to go and make your voice heard. Voting is the least important action we can take as far as civic engagement, but that doesn’t let any of us off the hook. Rather, we need to give our elected officials the clear signal that we are listening and use our votes like the weapons they are supposed to be. We can’t pour money into elections like lobbyists can, but we can determine if the politicians that take lobby money get back into office.

For instance, Heineman thought it was a great idea to take money from TransCanada. True, he eventually gave it back, but only after it became politically-unwise (i.e. people started protesting the pipeline) to keep the bribe. I say, give him and call, say you’re voting for his opponent (Mike Meister) and tell him it’s because he refuses to grow a spine on this issue.

In general, we need to make voting count, by pairing it with organized action and making it the knife that hangs over the heads of our politicians. We vote them in and then make it clear we’ll hold them accountable. We call them out when they decide to line their pockets instead of look out for the good of the people. We get organized, agitate and demand to have a real say in major decisions.

So, please keep the pressure on the politicians of Nebraska. Organize. Call. Rally. Vote.

This week’s rally against the pipeline:  Thursday, Nov. 4, 5:15-6:30 p.m. at 90th & Center

To contact Heineman:

Phone: 402-471-2244

E-mail site: http://www.governor.nebraska.gov/mail/govmail.html

Contact State legislature: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

Please join us.

Colleen

Hell no, Robo

15 Oct

So, there is a robo-survey out there right now that is basically feeding people lies about the Keystone XL pipeline, then asking them to push “1” if they support it and “2” if they don’t. If they say they don’t, they get fed some more lies. Here is the automated message:

“Good Evening.  We’re calling from Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence with a quick survey about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that will deliver oil from our trusted ally Canada, to refineries in Texas.

The Keystone XL Pipeline will pay over $150 million dollars in Nebraska property taxes, be the safest pipeline ever built, and will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil.  In addition, construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will create hundreds of family supporting, private-sector jobs for Nebraskans.

Now to the survey.  Do you support building the Keystone XL Pipeline in Nebraska?  Please press 1 on your phone if you support building the Keystone XL Pipeline; Please press 2 if you do not support building the Keystone XL Pipeline; and Press 3 if you are undecided (repeat).

Thank you for your time this evening.  Please remember that the Keystone XL Pipeline will bring over $150 million dollars in local property tax revenue, create family-supporting jobs for Nebraskans, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil from countries like Iran and Venezuela.

This call paid for by Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence, P.O. Box 572, Boystown, Nebraska, 68010.”

 

Here is what is should say:

Good evening. We’re calling from a group that stands to milk some money or other benefits from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. We’d like you to respond to a survey about this pipeline that will transport a socially and environmentally destructive form of fuel, called tar sands oil, through our state.

The Keystone XL will endanger the Ogallala aquifer, which yields about 30 percent of the nation’s ground water used for irrigation. In addition, the aquifer system provides drinking water to 82 percent of the people who live within the aquifer boundary. The Keystone XL would also cut through and destroy a large portion of the Sand Hills. The cost of a probable spill and the destruction caused by this pipeline isn’t something we feel comfortable sharing, as it would probably demonstrate the fact that the potential benefits of this pipeline are outweighed by its dangers. In addition, Nebraska workers will probably only get about 1 out of 10 jobs produced by the construction of the pipeline, most of which will be temporary.

Now to the survey. Do you support endangering our water supply? Do you support how TransCanada has bullied our landowners and bribed our politicians? Do you want to support a form of fuel that is socially irresponsible, causes massive destruction and requires us to be dependent on Canada instead of cultivating real energy independence?

Press 1 if you don’t care about Nebraska’s future and have no problem with the serious threats posed by this pipeline. Press 2 if you want to see Nebraska keep its water supply safe and be a real leader on America’s path to energy independence. Press 3 if you are going to sit on the fence about this issue.

Thank-you for your time. Remember that this pipeline spells nothing but trouble for Nebraska and the United States. The oil from this pipeline will go on the world market and does not guarantee the United States energy independence of any kind.

This call paid for by Nebraskans for Temporary Jobs and dependence on Canadian crude oil.

Tell our leaders to take a damn stand

7 Oct

Tell our leaders to take a damn stand.

Tell our leaders to take a damn stand

7 Oct

TransCanada is bribing our leaders. Is this surprising? Not really, but it still ticks me off. It recently came to light that Nebraska governor Heineman returned money given to him from TransCanada, which is lovely. I am thrilled to hear that Governor Heineman returned money he never should have accepted in the first place.

We don’t need this pipeline. Renewable energy is becoming more and more affordable and our options for alternative energy sources are expanding daily. Tar Sands oil is one of the most costly and destructive forms of energy around. The Keystone XL endangers our water, and TransCanada has a history of bullying our landowners. Yet, our leaders don’t speak out, at least not with any real conviction. Bribes like this help explain why they won’t take a damn stand.

Well, we who are fighting this pipeline (including whoever reads this) may not have millions of dollars to throw around on bribes, but we have something just as powerful. We have ourselves. We have the power to oust any leaders that don’t do their job and protect their constituents. As I’ve said before, that is a power that should not be underestimated and can be enough to change the world. Just look at any revolution or major movement; it started with people coming together.

Call Heineman and tell him to stop taking bribes: 402-471-2244

Please join us in putting a stop to this.

Colleen