Here is our fearless leader, Jane Kleeb’s statement on today’s announcement. Below is a longer statement on the process.
“We are proud of citizens for pushing state leaders to do the right thing: requiring the pipeline be moved out of the Sandhills and establishing a state-based regulatory system. However, we do not trust Transcanada. They have bullied and mislead landowners and citizens. Because of that we will be watching them like a hawk to ensure our land and water are protected. We look forward to citizens participating with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to ensure a fair and transparent study of alternative routes is conducted.”
Statement on the Process:
Today Speaker Flood announced on the floor of the Unicameral that TransCanada has agreed to reroute the Keystone XL pipeline out of the Sandhills. Speaker Flood has proposed an amendment to Senator Langemeier’s bill LB4 that will provide for the state of Nebraska to conduct its own environmental impact statement on the alternative route with the Department of Environmental Quality leading the way.
In addition, Speaker Flood announced that Senator Dubas’ siting bill will be sent to the full floor for a transparent debate. Her bill will create a comprehensive siting process for future pipelines, but will be amended to exempt TransCanada’s Keystone XL.
For Nebraskans who have opposed the route through the Sandhills from the start, this is welcome news and a huge victory. Thanks to immense public pressure, the citizens beat Big Oil.
However, we remain skeptical of TransCanada since every spotlight we shine on them paints an unflattering portrait. They’ve bullied landowners and misled the public about how many jobs this pipeline will create and its environmental impact. They also said from the beginning that they could not reroute the pipeline and are now singing a different tune. The bottom line for many citizens and landowners is that TransCanada cannot be trusted.
Today’s announcement also reinforces the Obama Administration’s decision to analyze the pipeline for another year. TransCanada will now face two thorough review processes at a state and federal level. In Nebraska, our state government will examine the environmental impact of the new route. The federal level will assess the environmental impacts of the entire pipeline, including information on greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of tar sands on our water supply. Both of these reviews must be done in a fair, thorough, and transparent manner.
Nebraskans still have a lot of serious, important questions about this pipeline. We stand with our leaders including Speaker Flood who have listened to the voices of Nebraskans. We think that this victory is a shining moment in Nebraska’s history and a sign to all elected officials that citizens will hold them accountable.