Six months ago, Gov. Dave Heineman showed his disrespect for the people of this state and a lack of leadership regarding the Keystone XL pipeline when he accused concerned citizens of “mouthing off” and encouraged them to “talk to [their] president,” about the pipeline.
Since then, a Congressional Research Service (CRS) memo requested by Nebraska Republican Congressman Lee Terry has shown that, although the State Dept. wields the power of approving or denying a permit for the pipeline to cross the US/Canadian border, it is ultimately up to the states (i.e. Nebraska) to determine siting of the pipeline route. This means, that Gov. Heineman has the legal authority and duty to get the pipeline out of the Sandhills.
As the State Dept. reviews public comments on its Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), many leaders are stepping up and speaking out on the proposed pipeline project. Senator Johanns has called for a rerouting of the pipeline around the Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer, and he has requested that at least one of the upcoming public hearings on the SDEIS be held in the Sandhills. Senator Nelson has urged state leaders to take responsibility and act on behalf of the citizens they have been elected to represent.
Sadly, Gov. Heineman still chooses to sit back and remain silent in the same invertebrate fashion he has displayed in the past. While it would be easy to write off his lack of initiative as typical partisan accommodation of big oil companies, the pipeline is a nonpartisan issue. Democrats and Republicans are concerned about the route of the pipeline, and members of the Nebraska legislature have shown that other state leaders can and will take action to protect our citizens.
The highest-ranking elected official in our state has chosen to opt out and avoid responsibility. This is not leadership. This is outright neglect of duty, and we need to let Governor Heineman know that his inaction is not what Nebraska citizens expect from a leader with such an important role and with so much at stake–our land, water, economic activity and the cultural heritage that makes our state strong.
Email or call (402) 471-2244 Gov. Heineman, and tell him to get serious about his duty to protect our land and water by rerouting the pipeline now.