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Nebraska Landowners Urge Sen. McConnell to Vote “No Eminent Domain for Private Gain” in Keystone XL Bill

Bonnie, Mike, Jackie, and Richard Kilmurry

Bonnie, Mike, Jackie, and Richard Kilmurry, whose land is in the proposed path of Keystone XL. The Kilmurrys are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging TransCanada’s eminent domain authority. (Photo by Mary Anne Andrei) 

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2015
Contact: Jane Kleeb, jane@boldnebraska.org, 402-705-3622

Nebraska Landowners Urge Sen. McConnell to Vote “No Eminent Domain
for Private Gain” in Keystone XL Bill

Lincoln, NE — A group of farmers and ranchers whose land would be put at risk by the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to vote for an amendment, proposed by Senators Menendez and Cantwell, that would make it clear that TransCanada, a private, foreign company, cannot use eminent domain to take land from unwilling landowners for their pipeline.

The group, members of Bold Nebraska and the Nebraska Easement Action Team (NEAT), also reminded Senator McConnell of their previous invitation to meet with landowners along the proposed pipeline’s route, to which he has not responded.

Dear Senator McConnell,

We live on the proposed route of Keystone XL pipeline. Our farms and ranches are directly at risk of a tarsands and benzene spill. While we understand the need for the federal government to discuss jobs, we also believe our property rights should not be traded away for an export pipeline that brings 35 jobs long-term to our country.

We ask, even knowing you support the Keystone XL pipeline, that you vote for Sen. Menendez and Sen. Cantwell‘s amendment (SA 72) that makes it clear TransCanada cannot take land from un-willing sellers.

You would never pass a bill allowing a solar or wind company to take our land, so why are you letting a foreign tarsands pipeline take our land when we do not want the pipeline mixing with our Agriculture livelihoods?

Many of our farms and ranches individually employ and support more than 35 jobs in our towns. Collectively, the Agriculture industry in Nebraska alone provides more than $21 billion in revenues. If you want to talk about supporting and creating jobs, then let’s get to work on infrastructure for rural bridges and reliable rural broadband.

Some of us recently put solar on our barns, irrigation pivots and homes. We are building energy in our state that puts more energy on our state’s power grid than Keystone XL ever will since they take energy from our state, they never put energy back on to our grid.

We are standing up for our property rights. Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Cantwell (D-WA) are standing up for our property rights. If you believe eminent domain should never be used for private gain, you will vote “yes” when the amendment comes to the floor.

If you vote against this common sense amendment, it will show farmers and ranchers across our nation that you think a private company should take land using eminent domain for their private gain.
Worse, your actions will set a dangerous precedent that Congress now does the bidding of asingle, foreign corporation’s one pipeline project. That is not the Nebraska or American way. It certainly is not how we do business in our small towns.

Hoping you do the right thing,

Farmers and Ranchers with Bold Nebraska and NEAT (the Nebraska Easement Action Team)

P.S: We sent an invitation to you back in November inviting you to visit with us on the actual route. We even said we could host a “Bourbon Summit.” You never responded. The invitation is still open.

P.P.S: In case you need some links to our concerns about water, here you go:

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