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Pipeline Fighter Update: Congress, South Dakota, Landowner Meetings

Tar Pit #3

Tarsands mining operations in Canada. This is what they do to land and water. Photo by Garth Lenz, more at: http://www.ted.com/talks/garth_lenz_images_of_beauty_and_devastation

As we head into 2015, this is the year–we the people–will see the risky Keystone XL rejected once and for all.

There is a flurry of activity happening on the pipeline, so we wanted to give you a snapshot and some of our thoughts on the national and local landscape.

Actions: Constant actions are what has stopped this pipeline so far. Let’s keep our voices loud and strong over the next few months.

  1. Send #nokxl landowner postcards to Pres. Obama. Order a set by clicking here.
  2. Send Pres. Obama a #nokxl pen that he can use to veto and reject Keystone XL once and for all. Click here to send a pen.

Congress: The new GOP-lead Congress has made Keystone XL their first order of business — we can only assume to pay back all of their Big Oil supporters, since anyone with a lick of common sense knows this is not an energy bill or a jobs bill.

On Jan. 7, at 9am CT, a hearing (yes again) will be held on the Senate bill. Bold is not testifying this time around, but we will be in the audience in DC. You can watch the hearing online.

Keystone XL helps Canada get their dirty tarsands to the export market and will employ about 35 folks full-time to help operate the pipeline. If the GOP actually cared about good-paying, union jobs (since this is the only time we have seen the GOP embrace the unions), then they should support renewable energy bills and allocate funds to fix our bridges and water pipelines.

The GOP does not care about unions or clean energy, all they care about is throwing red meat to the radical wing of their base and having one-liners they can use in campaign ads for the 2016 election cycle.

Senate Democrats have stated they will add some amendments to this flawed bill. While we think no amendments is better than playing the GOP games, we understand Democrats desire to have a discussion on renewable energy, USA steel and exports as Republicans push the risky pipeline.

It is a fact that TransCanada uses foreign steel.

It is true Keystone XL is an export pipeline.

It is true more American jobs can be created with renewable energy than dirty tarsands.

President Obama has said in the past he would veto any bill that tries to take away the long-established process for cross-border pipelines. This is not the first time Congress has approved Keystone XL. And, this will not be the first time Pres. Obama vetoes a Keystone XL bill. You would think Congress would have learned the lesson last time around when they tried this stunt.

Back on Jan. 18, 2012, Congress forced the approval of Keystone XL and Pres. Obama turned around and rejected the permit, forcing TransCanada to re-apply for a permit.

Given the low oil prices which make producing tarsands unprofitable, if Pres. Obama stays the course and not only vetoes a bill but also rejects Keystone XL outright, this will hopefully be the last year we are talking about this risky pipeline.

I will be in DC for the Senate hearing on Keystone XL, and to ensure new members of Congress like Rep. Brad Ashford from Omaha understand the ins and outs of the risky route, and the Nebraska and South Dakota permit legal challenges.

I will hand as many Members of Congress I see some of our landowner #nokxl postcards, so they see the brave faces of farmers and ranchers who are in the path and standing up to protect our land and water.

South Dakota: Our allies in South Dakota have turned up the heat on TransCanada as they attempt to get their construction permit re-certified. Bold Nebraska has joined close to 50 Tribal Nations, landowners, grassroots citizens and non-profits to serve as an intervenor.

As intervenors, we will all participate in the discovery process and call certain witnesses to the stand during the Public Utilities Commission hearing process. This is a long process which will not end until May, 2015.

You can read about Bold’s response to TransCanada’s permit request here and we will keep posting each step of our legal challenge on our website.

Allies in South Dakota are holding a #nokxl Prayer Vigil on Jan. 6th outside the PUC meeting. There will be several PUC meetings over the next several months with the final rounds of hearings scheduled in the Spring.

You can stay up to date on grassroots actions in South Dakota by liking the No KXL Dakota Facebook page.

Landowner Meetings: Nebraska landowners who continue to refuse to give up their land to TransCanada are part of a legal group called NEAT which continues to stand strong as a major block to the Keystone XL pipeline.

NEAT Landowner Meetings will be held in O’Neill and York with the legal team from Domina Law Group. These meetings are only open to NEAT landowners.

Friday, Jan. 9th, 5-7 p.m.
Tia Zia
121 S 4th St.
O’Neill, NE 68763
 (downstairs)

Thursday, Jan. 15, 5-7 p.m.
Chances R
24 West 5th Street
York, NE 68467
 (east side room)

Reminders: If you want to brush up on some of the facts around the pipeline, here are a few topics from the route, to climate change to Tribal rights.

The Route: The proposed pipeline route in Nebraska still crosses the Sandhills and still crosses the Ogallala Aquifer. While former Gov. Heineman and TransCanada tried to erase the eastern portion of the Sandhills and the part of the hills at the border of South Dakota and Nebraska, anyone that knows the area knows this reality—this risky pipeline still crosses the Sandhills and the Aquifer. You cannot erase our state’s biggest natural resource and the world’s largest intact grassland to make way for your risky export pipeline.

As a reminder, a tarsands spill in Sandhills could pollute 4.9 billion gallons of groundwater with a plume of contaminants 15 miles long as documented in a peer-review study by Dr. Stansbury at the University of Nebraska.

KXL still crosses the Sandhills. TransCanada used a map that shrinks this natural resource pretending they are avoiding the Sandhills.

KXL still crosses the Sandhills. Above is a proper soil-based map. TransCanada used a map that shrinks this natural resource pretending they are avoiding the Sandhills.

Climate Change: Many of our allies are opposed to the pipeline because of the impacts on our climate. Oil Change International put out an excellent climate memo (embedded below).

Here is a shorter fact sheet put together by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

NRDC Keystone XL Fact Sheet

Keystone XL Fails the Climate Test by Oil Change International

Tribal Rights: Tom Poor Bear, Vice President of the Oglala Sioux, sent this letter to government officials, which lays out in very clear terms on how TransCanada is violating treaty laws and breaking federal laws by not participating in meaningful consultation.

Memo from Oglala Sioux Tribe

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