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DEQ Hearing, Submit Your Comment

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released the TransCanada Pipeline Draft Report and scheduled the public hearing for Dec. 4th at 6pm in Albion at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

You can submit a comment to the DEQ with our partner Credo using this online form: click here.

We decided to collect comments rather than have folks send individual emails to the DEQ because we want to present them at the hearing on Dec. 4th and sometimes (as we saw with the State Department process), the government loses our comments. The online form has general comments if you only have time to sign your name but you can also replace those general comments with your own.

If you are coming to the hearing and plan on testifying: click here to complete online form this will help us see which advocates are speaking on what aspects of the DEQ report. Also, please wear RED to the hearing.

If you want to carpool, please email info@boldnebraska.org as we are trying to help folks connect.

Direct link to the DEQ draft Environmental Report: http://deq.ne.gov/PipeMeet.nsf/Menu?OpenPage&ExpandSection=1#_Section1

General DEQ pipeline website: http://deq.ne.gov/

As a reminder, there is still an active lawsuit on the DEQ process, read more about the lawsuit here.

The Public Service Commission, where TransCanada’s pipeline should be reviewed but because TransCanada’s lobbyists own much our state senators, just released their rules and regs for oil pipeline routes. These are good rules and regs and we should all demand the DEQ requires TransCanada to also submit every piece of required information in these rules. There is NO reason TransCanada should be exempt from these rules.

Details: DEQ Hearing, NEAT Meeting, No KXL Rally
The DEQ Hearing starts at 6pm, but we are holding a NEAT landowner and supporter meeting at 4pm and a rally at 5pm. If you have questions email info@boldnebraska.org. Please WEAR RED to the hearing.

NEAT Meeting: Dec. 4, 4-5pm, J’s Grill, 333 S 1St St, Albion
No KXL Pipeline Rally: Dec 4, 5-5:30pm, Boone County Fairground, Albion (look for the flatbed with a pony, bring handmade signs)
DEQ Hearing: Dec. 4, 6pm, Boone County Fairground, Albion

MAP OF THE REAL SANDHILLS, DEQ SHRUNK THE SANDHILLS

pipeline route mapThe Pipeline Route
The pipeline route, according to TransCanada’s own map in their State Department application and sourced above, clearly shows the Sandhills are still being crossed by this risky tarsands pipeline.

In creating the map above, Bold included the DEQ, Unicam, UNL and TransCanada’s maps of the Sandhills which are all slightly different. None of these maps were intended to give guidance for a maximum capacity tarsands pipeline which is why independent soil studies and pipeline integrity issues need to still be resolved.

The Aquifer is also still at risk. Governor Heineman asked President Obama to deny the pipeline permit last year because of the risks to the Aquifer so we can only assume he will deny this proposed route.

The DEQ Report and Citizen Report
Bold’s initial review of the report shows the DEQ is unfortunately parroting much of the misleading information TransCanada gives the public and landowners. Items like the number of jobs that will be created for Nebraskans (its more like 120 not the over 2,000 the DEQ report cites) or the 57 special conditions TransCanada will follow (these are just smoke and mirrors that have reported on already as mostly restating requirements TransCanada already must follow with existing federal laws). The simple fact that the DEQ will only get from TransCanada the exact chemical contents of the pipeline ONCE A LEAK occurs is outrageous and irresponsible.

We formed a citizen and landowner committee to review the 600 page document and will provide a perspective from folks who have been following this issue from day one to ensure our voices continue to be heard. The Bold Citizen and Landowner Report will be presented at the DEQ hearing on Dec. 4th/

There is still an active lawsuit against the DEQ routing process. If the citizen lawsuit is successful, the DEQ process will end and the PSC will take over. The PSC is where all oil pipelines, not just the ones that can’t afford to spend millions to lobby our state senators for a loophole, should be reviewed. They have strong regulations and rules now in place that were written with the public. That is how our government should operate–transparency and accountability.

DEQ is accepting public comments through the hearing date, Dec. 4, 2012. 

You can submit a comment via our online form with Credo. We will present all of these comments to the DEQ on Dec. 4th.

Written comments can be mailed to: NDEQ Pipeline Project Comments, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, NE  68509-8922. 

Written comments and testimoney can also be submitted on Dec. 4, 2012 at the hearing.

The formal Public Hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Event Center at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Time limits have not been given for the public hearing, but we suggest keeping your public comments to 5 minutes. Your written testimony (if you want to also provide one) can be longer.

The Politics and Process of DEQ and State Department
Once the DEQ compiles the public’s comments from the Dec. 4th hearing they will then give a final report to their boss (and who appointed everyone at the DEQ leadership) Gov. Heineman. From there, the Governor gets to decide if he approves or denies the pipeline route. If he approves the route the State Department than picks up the ball and continues their Environmental Report and National Interest Determination Study.

If Gov. Heineman denies the pipeline route, TransCanada can submit their route to the PSC to have them review it for a second try at approval. Given the comments Gov. Heineman makes now supporting the pipeline over our water, it is pretty clear he will approve the route and didn’t even need a DEQ report because that cake was already baked. Because there is no separation of powers between DEQ and the Governor that is why citizens have an active lawsuit on the law that gave DEQ authority to review the route when it should be with the PSC.

Given President Obama’s comments about climate change, his words that we should never risk our water and health of communities for any amount of jobs and his words that the historic fuel efficiency standards would be erased if KXL goes through since increased MPGs for our cars saves more oil than KXL could ever pump. Or the simple fact that in a Zogby poll released this week, only 12% of respondents said that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a “priority.” Given all of this and given the tremendous strength of landowners and citizens in our state, we will stop this pipeline.

The rough timeline seems to be (now this can get all messed up with large cases of eminent domain and the citizen lawsuit) Gov. Heineman approves the route in late December of in January. The State Department releases their draft report in March or April, public hearings take place May and President Obama decides in June. That is very rough estimate and not a final timeline.

Comment for press on DEQ report:
Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska: “How can the DEQ do an environmental study of the pipeline route if they don’t know the exact contents and chemicals of the pipeline? The DEQ must start with what’s in the pipeline and then do their own soil, water, wildlife and climate studies to ensure the route is the safest for landowners and the citizens of our state. Simply reviewing what TransCanada submitted is not sufficient. That is what the US State Department and Cardno Entrix did with the first KXL route, and that review was problematic for many Nebraskans stating for example that the route through the Sandhills was perfectly fine. Once again the citizens will step up and make sure information not filtered thru TransCanada is given to the public.”

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Let people know about BOLD Nebraska:


BOLD Nebraska
208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901