Bold Nebraska Director Jane Kleeb:
“The US Senate is using a convoluted bill that sends only one message, they do not care about American landowners’ property being taken away through eminent domain by a foreign oil corporation.
At one time in our history, Republicans and Democrats stood with America’s farmers and ranchers to protect their property rights and water. I suppose we are at a point in our history where Big Oil trumps even the most basic of property and states’ rights.
TransCanada has no route in Nebraska. Soon their permit in South Dakota will expire. Over 115 landowners in Nebraska are refusing to give up their land. A bill passed by Congress won’t solve these two major issues facing TransCanada.
We are confident the President would veto this convoluted and misguided bill in order to send the strong message that clean water and America’s landowners deserve better than politicians getting another sound bite for their political ads.”
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2014
Contact: Jane Kleeb, 402-705-3622
Nebraskans Urge Senate to Vote Against Keystone XL,
Respect State Rights and Property Rights
“I know we’re out in the boondocks, but by God we do have a constitution here.”
Omaha, NE—On a press call today that coincided with Senators Hoeven and Landrieu introducing a bill to build Keystone XL, Nebraskans urged Senators to respect the state’s ongoing legal process and landowner disputes by voting against the bill.
In February, a Nebraska judge ruled the state’s pipeline siting law “unconstitutional and void,” which means that there is no legal route in Nebraska. Because the State Department does not have a complete route to evaluate, they halted the National Interest process.
The Senate will likely take a vote next week on a bill that purports to approve Keystone XL, but such a vote would be purely symbolic.
Attorney Dave Domina, who is representing Thompson and the other plaintiffs, explained that, per the Bridges Act and the US Constitution, “The Congress of the United States can’t approve a pipeline route through the state of Nebraska.” He explained that this legislative attempt could very likely wind up in the federal court system if the bill passes.
The Senate bill would prioritize Big Oil interests over American landowners’ property rights. However, it cannot change the fact that more than 100 landowners in Nebraska have refused to sign easements with TransCanada and that there is currently no right of eminent domain for TransCanada to take that land. TransCanada is also poised to lose its permit in South Dakota.
“We are asking that you stand with us in defense of both property rights and Nebraska’s state rights by voting no on the Keystone XL pipeline bill,” said landowner and Thompson v. Heineman plaintiff Randy Thompson. He went on to observe, “They’re putting on a political show here. It’s more political games instead of looking at the critical issues that surround this pipeline.”
In an open letter that was sent to every member of the US Senate this morning, Thompson wrote, “As a Nebraskan, I urge you to vote against the Keystone XL bill—and instead vote in favor of American landowners.” He urged Senators to, “Ignore the color of your party on this one. Stand with our families.”
“A vote for Keystone XL is a vote against property rights and against state rights,” said Bold Nebraska Executive Director Jane Kleeb. “Our Senate ought to stand with American landowners instead of siding with a foreign oil company. That should be a no-brainer.”
“President Obama’s backbone is just as strong as landowners’. He will not be bullied by Congress into short-circuiting the process. The process is not complete. Nebraska doesn’t have a route.”
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350.org Reacts to Landrieu, Hoeven Bill to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline
Washington, DC — 350.org founder Bill McKibben issued the following reaction to the news that Sen. Landrieu and Sen. Hoeven have introduced a bill that would green light construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.“The endless attempts of bought-off politicians with Big Oil money to ram this thing through America’s Heartland are as disheartening as they are predictable. We will do all we can to meet their money with science and their cynicism with conviction.”
350.org Communications Director Jamie Henn added:
“We’ve now got a clearer list of who is doing the bidding of Big Oil instead of standing up for the American people. This sort of bill is exactly the reason why Congress is less popular than cockroaches. Keystone XL remains a climate disaster and clearly fails President Obama’s own test for approving the project.”