Editors Note: Thank you to Mary Pipher who wrote this petition and to everyone who sent emails to me in support. You can watch the clip our team pulled together or watch the full hearing (my 5 minute testimony is at 1:17:00 and the questions–many of which are inappropriate and deserve an apology–start at 1:29:00 and last for about 40 minutes). While Rep. Terry says he has nothing to apologize for, I think you will sign the petition once you watch the video. His lack of leadership and keeping decorum at the hearing fall on his shoulders since he is the Chair. Thank you to Rep. Schakowsky for standing up to the bullies on this House committee. -jane kleeb
Did you see the outrageous and disrespectful questioning of Jane Kleeb by Rep. Lee Terry and his GOP colleagues at the Congressional hearing on Keystone XL? Mary Pipher has started a petition demanding they apologize to Jane.
The tone of the hearing was set when Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nebraska), Chairman of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, thanked all the fellow Nebraskans who had traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify at the hearing that day.
…All of them, except for Hastings, Nebraska resident Jane Kleeb, the director of grassroots nonprofit group Bold Nebraska — which has helped organize landowners and citizens of all backgrounds against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in Terry’s home state.
The lack of a common courtesy greeting was just the beginning of an outrageous hearing that featured rude, personal attacks from Republican lawmakers directed against a rural community organizer, mom and elected member of her local school board.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) delivered a grandstanding and inappropriate harangue against Jane Kleeb at the hearing that included ad hominem attacks, and irrelevant questions about Jane’s family.¹ Rep. Johnson promptly left the room when his allotted time was up, not even giving Jane the decency of listening to her answers to his impolite questions.² The disrespectful questions continued from Rep. Billy Long (R-Ohio).
When Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) got a chance to speak, she rightly condemned the “harangue” against Ms. Kleeb delivered by Rep. Johnson:
“I would like to say that in this committee, I would hope that we treat witnesses that come here a bit better than that — and nobody deserves to be harangued in the manner that she was. I take great exception.”³
Rep. Schakowsky then gave Jane a chance to respond to Rep. Johnson:
“There is one reason that we’re fighting this pipeline and that’s because we don’t believe that American farmers and ranchers should have to take on the risks of a foreign tarsands export pipeline,” Kleeb stated firmly at the hearing — and anyone who has followed the fight in Nebraska knows this to be true.(4)
Nebraska’s Rep. Lee Terry should apologize to Jane Kleeb and the people of Nebraska for allowing her to be harangued by his fellow GOP colleagues at the hearing. Terry failed to halt the irrelevant questions and condemn the attacks against Ms. Kleeb. What’s more, Reps. Johnson and Long must apologize to Jane for their sexist, disrespectful behavior.
Jane was called to testify not for herself, but on behalf of thousands of Nebraskans — landowners, farmers, ranchers, students, grandmothers, and everyone else who cares about protecting our land and water for future generations. Folks who have driven hundreds of miles and stood through blizzards for the chance to testify at federal, state and county hearings against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
The Congressmen who treated her disrespectfully were an insult to all of these people, as well as an insult to their rights as Americans to have their voices heard.
Her message was factual and respectful, and should have been responded to in the manner in which it was delivered.
As the author of “Reviving Ophelia,”(5) I strongly feel that we must always speak out and condemn unfair treatment of women, especially when it comes from our elected representatives during a formal Congressional hearing.
Please join me in signing the petition to demand that Rep. Lee Terry and his GOP colleagues apologize to Jane Kleeb.
Click here to add your name to the petition:
Thanks for all you do.
1. “The Pipeline And The Nasty People Who Support It,” Esquire.com, 9/20/13.
2. “Republican Launches Personal Attack Against Keystone XL Activist At Congressional Hearing,” ThinkProgress.org, 9/20/13.
3. “Keystone’s Red Tape Anniversary: Five Years of Bureaucratic Delay and Economic Benefits Denied,” Hearing of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, 9/19/13.
4. “Jane Kleeb, The Keystone Killer,” RollingStone.com, 4/11/13.
5. “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls,” Dr. Mary Pipher, 1994.