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Randy Thompson & General Anderson Testimony

Randy Thompson, a Nebraska landowner, and retired Brigadier General Steven Anderson will testify before the House Energy & Power Subcommittee about the Keystone XL pipeline, Friday at 9am CT.

We’ll be livetweeting the hearing @BoldNebraska.

You can watch the livestream online and members of the press should be able to patch audio and any clips through that stream.

CSPAN will also carry the hearing live.

While the hearing begins at 9am CT, but we don’t know exactly when Randy and Brigadier General Anderson will testify. If you want to know what they’re going to say, we’ve already got their testimony below. They make it clear that the Keystone XL export pipeline is an unacceptable risk to our land, water and national security.

Questions? Call Jane Kleeb at 402-705-3622.

Randy Thompson Testimony

My name is Randy Thompson, I’m from Martell, Nebraska. I am here as a Nebraska citizen and landowner. I would like to thank the chairman and the committee for the opportunity to be here today.

I would like to start my testimony today by thanking President Obama for making the right decision by denying the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. I am proud to think that the voices of Nebraskans had an impact on his decision. Those of us who live and work along the proposed path of this pipeline applaud him for placing our welfare ahead of the interests of big oil companies.

As a lifelong Nebraskan I can honestly tell you that I have never witnessed any project that has stirred the emotions of my fellow Nebraskans like the Keystone XL has. Contrary to what you may have heard from some of our elected officials, I can assure you that the dust hasn’t settled in Nebraska. TransCanada has built a mountain of distrust among the ordinary citizens of our state, and even with their voluntary agreement to move the pipeline out of the Sandhills we remain very skeptical . Many Nebraskans view TransCanada as an overly aggressive company who thought it could bully and intimidate its way across our state, and having witnessed TransCanada’s actions during the application process has made us wary of what they would do if empowered by a premature permit. 

TransCanada has been granted plenty of free passes and now they seek yet another. They want their political allies to free them from the tangled mess that they, themselves, helped to create. Perhaps it’s time for the free passes to come to an end. If the Keystone XL truly has merit then it should be able to withstand the rigorous and comprehensive review that it deserves, and has not gotten. 

If this pipeline is built thousands of us in the heartlands will have to live and work next to it for the balance of our lives, and in many cases the balance of our kids and grandkids lives. It will cross hundreds of our waterways, lakes, and streams, and it will only get riskier with time; so please, don’t tell us that this permit needs to be hurried through.

In the heartlands many of us feel that approval of this project would strip us of our individual property rights. We feel this way because we would be forced to give up a portion of our hard earned property for the personal gain and benefit of corporate entities. We have seen no evidence that this pipeline is anything other than an export pipeline providing access to the world oil market for Canadian Tar Sands. Outside of providing a few months of temporary employment for some Americans it yields few other benefits. Completion of the pipeline would actually increase the price of the oil we are currently importing from Canada to our Midwest refineries. This is an undisputed fact.

Perhaps it’s just my Nebraska logic, but from my perspective it appears that the United States is getting the short end of the stick on this deal. Canada and the big oil companies are reaping the rewards while Americans are being left to fix the fence.

Thank you for allowing me to be here today.

Brigadier General Steven Anderson Testimony

Good morning, my name is Steve Anderson, a concerned citizen and part owner of a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business based in Knoxville, Tennessee.   I would like to begin my statement by thanking the members of this sub-committee for this opportunity to appear before you today, as well as thanking my President for the courageous decision he made to deny the Keystone XL pipeline.  Frankly, as a political conservative and a long-time registered Republican, I don’t often agree with President Obama, but on this matter he absolutely got it right. 

I strongly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline because it will hurt our national security.  The critical element is simply this:  the pipeline keeps up addicted to oil, an addiction that makes us both strategically and operationally vulnerable.  As a retired general officer with over 31 years of service to our nation in the US Army, I believe I’m fully qualified to comment on both of these vulnerabilities.

This pipeline will keep the United States dependent upon outside energy sources to meet most of our energy needs.  It will sustain our addiction and, as nations like China and India continue to demand more oil themselves, competition will increase.  Such international tension threatens our national security. 

Additionally, continued carbon-based energy consumption drives C02 emissions that may lead to climate change and increasingly catastrophic weather events.  This potential instability puts America and our way of life at risk as well. 

Furthermore, the pipeline keeps us strategically vulnerable because our economy will remain petro-centric, and many thousands of companies developing clean energy technologies and providing renewable energy solutions won’t grow and prosper as quickly as America needs.  I believe Keystone will set back our alternative energy industry twenty years.   

Two weeks ago I read that Dubai will invest $2.7B in solar energy next year.  Dubai is an emirate surrounded by the world’s largest oil fields and their economy is 250 times smaller than ours, yet they are astute enough to see the consequences of an oil-dependent economy and are willing to invest now in renewable energy in a huge way.  Why aren’t we?

And because we are not fully committed to developing renewable energy capabilities, our soldiers in harm’s way are operationally vulnerable, too.  

Serving for 15 months as General Petraeus’ senior logistician in Iraq, I struggled with the challenge of providing 2M gallons of JP8 fuel every day to sustain our forces.  I saw the huge impact of not having any renewable energy systems and being completely dependent upon oil-based power generation.  

In consideration of the fully burdened cost of fuel in the combat zone, taxpayers have been spending well over $33B annually for our fuel needs.  And now that Pakistan has cut off our access to Afghanistan, that the figure will no doubt be significantly higher this year.  

But the dollar cost doesn’t concern me as much as the human cost.  Over 1,000 US servicemen and women have been killed during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan executing fuel missions the past ten years.  This is a fact that should outrage us all.  

And to make matters worse, our oil addiction is empowering our enemy.  Our long supply lines provide thousands of convenient targets, and the revenues from satiating our habit fund enemy war fighting assets and activities.

Imagine how much safer it could be for our troops if they were fighting a much less capable enemy…  Imagine leveraging solar, wind and geothermal technologies to end the war sooner – and save lives and billions of dollars.

Allow me to also comment on the jobs issue associated with this pipeline.  As a former soldier, I am extremely concerned about the high unemployment rates of our veterans.  Of course, I want more employment opportunities for my brethren, but they need jobs with staying power – they need careers.  We need an economic climate that generates jobs for vets for 100 years, not just 100 days.  And for every job the pipeline produces, a clean energy economy could produce a thousand. 

This pipeline will hurt our national security and delight our enemies.  Keystone only addresses a symptom of our illness — the source of our oil – and fails to cure the disease itself, which is our overreliance on oil.   The time has come to put the needs of Middle America above those of Big Oil.  I believe the uniquely American entrepreneurial spirit and mission focus that put a man on the moon 42 years ago can once again prevail in breaking our addiction to oil.  Our energy vulnerabilities can be converted from being a national security risk into an international strength – we can be an exporter rather than importer of energy.  Stopping the Keystone XL is a vital step in setting conditions to make such a vision a reality.

Thank you again for inviting me here today and I look forward to your questions.

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