Holt County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Pass Anti-Pipeline Resolution
By Amy Schaffer
POSTED: May 02, 2013, 06:24 PM
Holt County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Pass Anti-Pipeline Resolution
By Amy Schaffer
POSTED: Apr 27, 2013, 06:36 PM
Last week, Noelle Ptomey, of Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska, attempted to email Congressman Lee Terry using an email form on his website. She wanted to tell Terry that she was upset that he and other Nebraska elected officials did not attend the final State Department hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in Grand Island. But when Ptomey entered her zip code into the Terry website’s comment form, she found that she was blocked because she does not live in his district.
Ptomey e-mailed Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, who encouraged her to call Terry’s office to voice her concerns. Kleeb also forwarded Ptomey’s email to Common Cause and the Associated Press (AP), which picked up the story. Ptomey told the AP that she called Terry’s office “to say how discouraging it was to know that our elected officials are trying to filter emails and only hear from the people in their district.”
POSTED: Apr 23, 2013, 08:16 PM
On Monday, in a letter to the State Department, the EPA raised objections to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for a Presidential Permit application by TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline. The EPA gave the DSEIS an EO-2 rating (“Environmental Objections—Insufficient Information”), based on its analysis of the project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, pipeline safety, and alternative routes.
The EPA advised the State Department to “explore specific commitments” that TransCanada will make to “implement” the carbon mitigation measures recommended in the DSEIS.
POSTED: Mar 08, 2013, 01:52 PM
Landowners, citizens, environmental advocates, and tar sands industry leaders all agree: the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is the key to expanding the tar sands industry. The only opposing viewpoint comes from the flawed State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was written by oil and gas industry consultants that benefit from pipelines getting approved. The American public is getting bamboozled.
“Industry experts continue to make it clear that they need the new capacity from Keystone XL in order to make tar sands profitable,” said Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska. “The only ones arguing with this assessment is the State Department, who relied on TransCanada and industry consultants to craft the report to suit their bottom line.”
"President Obama, Secretary Kerrey and the American public are getting bamboozled by the State Department report written by oil consultants and paid for by TransCanada," said Randy Thompson, a Nebraska rancher. “We will not sit on the sidelines as a foreign corporation attempts to force us to relinquish our land for a project that would put our family operations at risk. They need to get an export pipeline built so they can expand tar sands and we stand in their way."
As Inside Climate News reports, the conclusion about the future of the tar sands industry “was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.”
But those who are investing in the industry tell a different story.
Bloomberg Business Week further confirmed that the State Department got it wrong. The article emphasizes just how critical the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is to further expansion of the industry, and highlights industry voices that say the industry cannot expand at its desired or expected rate without Keystone XL. This industry affirmation flies in the face of the State Department’s analysis that tar sands development will occur with or without the pipeline.
From Business Week's "Keystone Pipeline Decision May Influence Oil-Sands Development":
A U.S. decision on whether to approve TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline has the potential to accelerate—or slow—investments in Canada’s oil sands.
Stopping the pipeline would mean continued discounted prices for Canadian crude, making it harder for producers to sell their commodity at a profit and potentially slowing oil-sands development.
Current discounts of almost $30 a barrel are “unsustainable,” Enbridge Inc. (ENB)’s Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said yesterday in a presentation at the IHS CeraWeek energy conference in Houston. “If we can’t attract world prices, then we will ultimately curb energy development.”
“It’s fair to say that development has already slowed because of the discount,” said Robert Schulz, a business professor at the University of Calgary who specializes in the Canadian oil and natural gas industry. “Companies are certainly going to wait and see what the decision on Keystone is before moving ahead with development,” he said in an interview.
Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest energy company by market value, has delayed a joint venture with Total SA and is considering whether to cancel an oil-sands processing plant being jointly planned with the French company, CEO Steve Williams said on a conference call on Nov. 1.
POSTED: Feb 28, 2013, 04:02 PM
UPDATE, 2/28, 5:30pm:
After posting this story, we received a return phone call from Alex Wunrow, the former Nebraska legislative page who posted on the Nebraska Watchdog comment section. He confirmed his identity and had this say:
“I was a page at the time so [Lautenbaugh] asked me to go down to his office to get him some ice so he could drink a cold Diet Coke. When I opened the freezer, I saw the handle of a bottle of Captain Morgan [rum] in there. And then when I grabbed a Diet Coke from the fridge there was a case of either Bud or Miller Light. I know for a fact that he drinks in his office. All of the senators joke about drinking, but he was the only one I knew for a fact had alcohol in his office.”
Wunrow is a student of Advertising and Public Relations at UNL.
POSTED: Nov 01, 2012, 10:52 AM
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When Rachel Wise was a high school student in Kearney, Nebraska, she taught swimming lessons at the public pool. “When I first started, I taught a young boy who had a mild to moderate cognitive disability who wasn’t able to take the regular swimming classes.” His family attended the same church as Rachel and they asked for her help. On a cold and windy morning, sitting in the Scooter’s coffeehouse in Fremont, she remembered the challenge. “It took more repetition, more confidence-building, and different strategies, but we had fun and he learned to swim.” That experience stayed with her, and she soon discovered that “working with special needs children is no different than working with any other children.” Rachel said that “teachers celebrate growth and success, and special needs children experience growth and achieve milestones just like any other child.”
Photo by Mary Anne Andrei: After serving as an educator and administrator in Nebraska public schools for the last 30 years, Rachel Wise believes, “A quality public education is fundamental to our democracy.”
While working on her Master’s degree in Vocational Education and Special Education from UNL, she began her teaching career as a Family and Consumer Science teacher in the Tekamah-Herman Public Schools in District 3. For the next twelve years Rachel worked as a teacher and special education coordinator in the Winnebago Public Schools and Logan View Junior-Senior High School, and as the Assistant Director of Special Education Services in ESU 7, serving school districts in seven counties. In 1996—while pursuing a Ph.D. in Community and Human Resources at UNL—Rachel accepted a position in the Omaha Public School District where she served as Director of Secondary Education and Career and Technical Education and was the Assistant Principal of Burke High School.
POSTED: Oct 20, 2012, 12:11 PM
In early December 2007, John Ewing received a phone call from Mike McLarney, President and CEO at United Way of the Midlands. He wanted John to serve as the Advisory Chairman of the Von Maur Victims’ Fund—an account set up to aid the families of the eight people killed and the four injured by a teenage gunman at the department store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha. John’s first thought was that he must have been at the bottom of a long list of people who Mike had tried to recruit. McLarney assured John that he was at the top of the list, given his unique qualifications as Douglas County Treasurer, a minister at Salem Baptist Church, and a former Lieutenant of the Special Victims Unit and Deputy Chief in the Omaha Police Department. Who better to administer funds but also counsel grieving and distraught families? John’s second thought was, “This will be the end of my political career.”
POSTED: Oct 10, 2012, 10:06 PM
In 2005, Judy Domina received a panicked call from her daughter. She needed to get her boys away from her husband who was abusing them. Judy drove without stopping to Iowa. She picked up her grandsons and brought them back to her home in Scotia. They had been severely abused, but Judy had taught children with special needs and had worked as an advocate for children and families; the boys couldn’t have had a better champion than a loving grandmother who knew the ins and outs of Nebraska’s health and human services. Still, Judy ran into roadblocks—and was shocked that even she was unable to navigate the system without help. She worried about her grandsons, but she also began to think of others: “If I can’t get services for these children, what is happening to the families who don’t know who to call or how to go about accessing these services?”
Photo by: Mary Anne Andrei. Judy Domina outside the new Elkhorn Valley View Middle School near her home. A supporter of the Dream Act, Judy sees education—for everyone—as critical to the state’s future.
POSTED: Oct 02, 2012, 10:30 AM
In June 2000, Ken Haar headed into the Colorado wilderness for a three-week backpacking trip. In all he hiked about 100 miles from Copper Mountain to where the Colorado Trail crosses US Highway 50—just 5 miles per day. But Ken says he’s glad that he could keep a leisurely pace, taking the time—indeed, having the time—to admire the microcosm of an anthill or take in the “the sheer beauty of the Collegiate Peaks.” Each night after cooking dinner and washing the dishes, Ken would secure his food from bears by hanging it in a tree—and even invented BearHooks, a device designed to simplify the process.
POSTED: Sep 17, 2012, 06:36 PM
Since deciding to run for the unicameral last November, Vern Barrett has held to a daily routine. Each evening he sets out with his wife Nancy for one of the hundreds of communities in his district—which spans Butler, Colfax, and Saunders counties. He walks the streets greeting residents and goes door to door. He sometimes rises early to meet with farmers for breakfast at the Brainard Café, or catches lunch in Schuyler at the Burrito House. In more than nine months of crisscrossing the district, Vern estimates he has met thousands of people. It’s the kind of methodical approach one might expect from the principle founder of UNL’s masters program in Agricultural Leadership Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and an interdepartmental doctoral program in Leadership Studies—but it was one of Vern’s students who convinced him that it wasn’t enough to train others to lead.
Photo by Mary Anne Andrei: Vern Barrett in front of his farmhouse on the old Joe Erickson Farm in Ceresco, Nebraska, where he and his wife Nancy raised their six children.