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Johanns does 180 on Keystone XL Pipeline

Less than a month ago Senator Johanns said Congress has little role in the Keystone XL pipeline and the decision is in President Obama’s hands. However, today he did a 180 and joined a reckless group of GOP Senators on Capitol Hill looking to ram the Keystone XL pipeline down America’s throat.  Johanns is now a co-sponsor of Senator Lugar’s bill that would require the Obama administration to rubberstamp the Keystone XL in 60 days, before details on a reroute have even been determined, let alone studied.

Simply put, Senator Johanns (and Representatives Terry and Smith) wants to impose an arbitrary deadline for analyzing the pipeline. This is something that the Unicameral decided not to do when they set up the State’s review process just days ago.

Apparently Nebraska’s priorities–like making sure the review is done right–are different than Senator Johanns’ the priorities.

This bill is an utter betrayal of the work Nebraskans have put in for the last 18 months demanding a fair and transparent governmental review of this pipeline. What’s most disturbing is that Johanns is turning his back on the promises he’s made all along in this fight.

Last spring, Senator Johanns helped Nebraskans call for a supplemental environmental study on the Keystone XL. When the State Department announced they’d write one, Senator Johanns cheered loudly with Nebraskans. He even said, “My objection to the Keystone XL Pipeline stems from sloppy routing and incomplete analysis.”

It has been Senator Johanns’ criticism of the route and TransCanada–at one point he called them “aggressively stubborn”–and public complaints about the Cardno-Entrix scandal that helped push the State Department and President Obama to delay the pipeline. They also led to the Inspector General investigating the State Department over the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

It’s clear to anyone who’s been following this issue for more than a month that there needs to be a lot more analysis done on the Keystone XL and tar sands. For Senator Johanns to suggest that the Special Session and Speaker Flood’s deal with TransCanada to PLAN to reroute the pipeline (right now all we have is a promise, no new route) have alleviated all of Nebraskans’ concerns is false. Those actions merely addressed a portion of our concerns, and the new study has not even started.

Many Nebraskans are still opposed to the pipeline. Our poll from September showed 47% of Nebraskans disapprove of it entirely. People along the route and all over the country share our concerns about the risks to our land, water, and health.

TransCanada said the Sandhills route was the best route, and they’re saying Keystone XL is in the national interest. Clearly they were wrong about the former–on that Johanns agrees–and we still believe they’re wrong on the latter. That is what the delay is intended to address, and to call it “merely political” is a cheap shot.

If Senator Johanns and the GOP senators say the delay is political, then we will make the fairly msall leap and say their rush is a political as well. This “rush the pipeline” attitude is a nod to Big Oil, right in time for campaign season.

Just three weeks ago, Senator Johanns was willing to defer to President Obama’s judgement. But now he thinks the President can’t be trusted? Who’s really playing politics, Senator?

Take Action:

Call 202-224-4224 or email Senator Johanns’ office. Tell him that you are disappointed he’s playing politics with our land and water, that he should not support this ill conceived bill. We need time to study a new route and tar sands, and 60 days is simply not enough time.

Then, call 202-224-6551or email Senator Nelson’s office. Ask him to oppose Johanns’ KXL rubberstamp. Remind him that we still need someone on Capitol Hill who will stand with Nebraskans, not TransCanada.

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