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Senate Keystone Vote is All Hat, No Cattle

As the US Senate prepares to vote for a non-binding amendment on the Keystone XL pipeline, landowners and citizens urge politicians to think of the risks to families’ water rather than the rewards of campaign donations from big oil companies.

The amendment offered by Sen. Hoeven in non-binding, which means it’s similar to a resolution applauding a high school basketball team. This vote does not approve the Keystone XL pipeline and only continues to push TransCanada’s misleading talking points about this export pipeline.

“Only Senators who take millions from big oil companies could think that tarsands passing through our country to some unknown destination is going to give us energy independence,” said Randy Thompson a lifelong Republican and Nebraska landowner. “Stop grandstanding and get to work for the American people, not foreign oil companies. We will not sit by as foreign oil gets the rewards and we get a lifetime of risks.”

The Keystone XL pipeline might bring security to the bank accounts of foreign oil companies, but it will do nothing for the security of our nation. Not a drop of tarsands is guaranteed to replace Middle Eastern oil. Just like this non-binding amendment, this pipeline is all hat no cattle, Keystone XL is simply all risk and no reward.

“A few thousand two-year jobs and 35 permanent jobs are only going to solve our country’s unemployment problem if this pipeline has mystical powers of some kind,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Director. “Farmers and ranchers along the route will need all the magic out there when a spill happens since our own government does not have a solution to clean up tarsands as we have seen in the largest tarsands and chemical spill in Michigan that displaced hundreds of families and is costing over $1 billion.”

Thousands of miles of farm and ranch land and over 200 bodies of water in Nebraska alone are at risk. Despite the State Department’s claim a spill would be localized, the report was written by oil company consultants to give them the outcome they wanted rather than a proper risk assessment for families along the pipeline route.

At some point Rep. Terry, Gov. Heineman and the Senators who keep pushing this export pipeline are going to have to answer the basic question, is the risk to families’ water worth the reward of campaign donations from big oil?

Background on Hoeven Amendment 494 and Pipeline Timeline
The Hoeven Senate budget amendment 494 supports approval and construction of the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, pre-judging a project that is still under review by the State Department. The draft environmental review, still in the comment phase, fails to consider the environmental impacts of mining and refining on water, climate, health and wildlife. The amendment is non-binding, meaning its all for show. This is the third time Sen. Hoeven has attempted to force approve the pipeline. His last amendment, in 2012, was attached to a Veterans bill. Rep. Terry also continues to attempt to force approve the pipeline.

Language of the current Hoeven amendment 494: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.582.PCS:/

Timeline on the President’s Decision

March 1: Draft SEIS is issued by State



March 8: Comment periods begins



Date TBD: Nebraska Hearing (date and location not announced yet)



April 22: 45-day Comment period closes (also Earth Day)

June 22: State Department releases Final SEIS – 90 day National Interest Determination (NID) starts (assuming relatively aggressive two months preparing time)



September 22: State Department finishes NID process, issues draft permit decision to coordinating agencies, which have 15 days to disagree with State’s proposed decision



October 7: Presidential Permit decision issued (one we believe will be denial since this export pipeline is not in our national interest)

 

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