GOP Makes Pipeline Shovel Ready for the Grave

Jane Kleeb
News

The last time Rep. Boehner was in Nebraska he was golfing and making bets with Gov. Heineman and staff from the newly named pipeline consultant HDR (yep, the company hired to study new Keystone XL routes in our state). Maybe Rep. Boehner needs to come back to Nebraska and instead of golfing in the Sandhills with Gov. Heineman and HDR, he should actually listen to landowners and citizens about our valid concerns for land, water, health and property rights.  

Rep. Boehner and Rep. Terry, along with support from Gov. Heineman and Sen. Johanns, passed a payroll tax bill and attached a “rider” to rush the approval process for the TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. They all agree the project is “shovel ready” and should be approved now since it is safe and will bring lots of jobs.

As long as they keep pushing an arbitrary deadline, the only thing that is “shovel ready” is the death of the Keystone XL pipeline. If Boehner, Terry, Johanns and Heineman’s definition of “shovel ready” is no route in Nebraska, no signed easements along the new route, no public emergency response plan and no study of tar sands impacts on water and pipeline safety, then I seriously question their leadership and judgement.

The State Department said yesterday, “should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information.” 

The State Department went on to essentially say if the bill passes to rush the process, they will have to deny the permit. Pundits are all over cable news talking about the political calculations and describing the ads that will be run for or against politicians. 

I am in the camp of “Bring it.”  Keep pushing this reckless bill to rush the pipeline. Let it pass both the Senate and House and then let it get to the desk of a real leader, President Obama. I am pretty sure he is ready to call their bluff and stand up for our land, water, health and property rights.

All President Obama needs to do is cite the simple fact we have no route studied in Nebraska yet and that the GOP-lead House just yesterday passed a pipeline safety bill calling for a study on how tar sands affects pipelines (spoiler alert: tar sands is 3 times more corrosive, so we pretty much know how that study will turnout). 

If you just passed a bill calling for a study on tar sands, how can you, with a straight face, then turn around and say that the Keystone XL pipeline is “shovel ready”?

It is time, in particular for Gov. Heineman, to stop playing politics and stand up for Nebraskans. Rather than waiting for Congress, the State Department, or the Nebraska Legislature to take action and do his job, the Governor should be leading the effort in our state and on a national level to make sure that if the pipeline is built, it is safe and that Nebraskans are fully protected.

Heineman should be telling his golf buddy Rep. Boehner and his fellow GOP politicians to cut it out and let the process happen without arbitrary deadlines. But, as we saw in the paper yesterday, Heineman will cheer them on saying he wants to “expedite everything” instead of protecting our state.

Let’s recall that Gov. Heineman recently wrote to President Obama saying, “I am opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route because it is directly over the Ogallala Aquifer.” He also told the Hastings Tribune, “When I learn 100 percent that the route has been moved, then we can describe it as win for Nebraska.”

A new route that protects the Aquifer has not been identified, so how and why would Heineman now throw his enthusiastic support behind this risky pipeline?

Heineman was saying he was opposed to the permit when he thought Obama was about to approve the pipeline. Heineman simply wants to be on whatever side Obama is not so he can continue to try and blame all that is bad in the world on the President (or Sen. Nelson).

Until a new route is approved, until all the easements from landowners have been signed, until this new study on tar sands is complete, until we have confidence the Ogallala Aquifer will not be polluted, then the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline is not shovel ready…unless of course you mean shovel ready for the grave. In that case, I will happily be there with my shovel, and I know lots of Nebraskans will be there with me. 

So keep pushing your lies about this pipeline being “shovel ready” and safe–I am talking to you Boehner, Terry, Johanns and Heineman–because if you do, I am pretty sure you will get to see what a real leader looks like, a leader who looks to science and who cares about our kids’ health, property rights and our water. Take it from Randy, you will also be in for “rude awakening.”


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