TransCanada’s latest Hail Mary has many people scratching their heads.
For those of us on the ground, we see through their antics. Our formal press release is below, but I want to take this opportunity to peel back some of the curtain on TransCanada.
This is a LONG read! Before you dig in, make sure to RSVP to stand with landowners on Oct. 19th when they still go to court over eminent domain and the illegal routing process used by TransCanada.
Here is the bottom line: TransCanada can not use eminent domain for at least 2 years because of a Nebraska law that makes it clear once you invoke eminent domain (which they did months ago) and then abandon eminent domain (which they did last week), you can not use those powers again for at least 2 years.
On top of those 2 years, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) process, that TransCanada magically now wants to go through, will take at least 7 months and probably more like a year. On top of that now 3 years, if the PSC decides to alter the route, the State Department would also have to study the revised route which would take at least another 6 months and maybe more. So, even if things all go TransCanada’s way, you are looking at 2018 before the paperwork is completed.
Pres. Obama does not have to wait on Nebraska again. President Obama will not hand this off to the next President. He has all the legal, scientific and moral ground he needs to reject the permit now.
Some obvious questions I am sure (or I hope!) the TransCanada board is now asking their CEO:
- Will TransCanada’s “committed shippers” wait until 2018 knowing, even if they wait, it is not a sure bet they will get a green light? Or, have they already given up? We don’t know since TC won’t tell anyone.
- Will the labor union contracts be renewed (again) and will the labor unions even want to?
- Will contracts with emergency response equipment providers be renewed?
- Will counties that signed road haul and other contracts with Transcanada, before they had all the information, decide to take a different course now requiring things like bonds, abandonment reclamation, spill response equipment in the county borders, etc?
- Will the foreign-sourced steel pipes, that have been rusting and sitting out in the snow and heat for several years, be replaced, or would TransCanada attempt to use the junk pipe shown to be defective in TX and other parts of Keystone 1 and Keystone South?
- Will the price of oil make this pipeline unprofitable (since that is today’s reality for all tarsands pipeline proposals)?
- Will climate agreements in Paris make digging up tarsands, one of the most carbon intensive and water polluting forms of oil around, a dead end?
- How did you let a bunch of farmers and ranchers, along with Native and environmental allies, out work you?
- What does the oil and gas industry do now, given the status quo of pipeline permits is now changed forever?
Last week, in an abrupt and unexpected move, TransCanada decided they now want to play by the rules, rather than writing their own laws and paying off politicians along the way. So, they applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission this week with a 68-page application.
They give the PSC a few routes for their risky pipeline, just like they have in other applications.
All three of the proposed routes still cross the Sandhills. If you use a soil map — not a wildlife map like Gov. Heineman did — which allowed TransCanada to pretend in the press and public they were doing the right thing. Even in Transcanada’s initial application to the State Department in 2008, before the uprising happened against the pipeline, they have several maps showing the real Sandhills. It was not until we took issue with them cutting through this fragile, sandy soil (literally one of a kind in the world), where NO TARSANDS PIPELINE exists now, did they then push Gov. Heineman to adopt a shrunken version of the Sandhills. Disgusting, but typical of TransCanada.
All three routes proposed in TransCanada’s application to the Nebraska Public Service Commission cross the Ogallala Aquifer and literally hundreds of water body crossings. All routes put at risk the Whooping Crane (only a few hundred left on the planet). All routes would see a projected at least 91 spills over the lifetime of the pipe. All routes give TransCanada life-time ownership of the strip of land they take from farmers and ranchers.
All three routes allow TransCanada to sell that land easement to whoever they want with zero say from our state or landowners. All of the routes allow TransCanada to ship whatever they want in the pipe — tarsands mixed with benzene, hazardous waste, or maybe down the road, our water. You laugh at that one? Well, even a representative from TransCanada admitted to the Nebraska state legislature that using the pipe to transport our water was a possibility down the road.
Over 100 landowners in Nebraska refuse to give up their land to a foreign corporation that does not have a state or federal permit to build Keystone XL. Landowners in South Dakota and Montana would be standing with them, refusing to give up their land, but TransCanada used eminent domain threats much earlier in those states and successfully bullied landowners into signing contracts they did not want (with some signing under duress).
Pipeline fighters continue to stand together.
On October 19th, we will stand together supporting the landowners, represented by the Domina Law Group, as they ask the judge to not–as TransCanada is requesting–dismiss the case on eminent domain and the illegal bill we must get off the books (LB 1161).
Nothing TransCanada does will make us stop fighting them at every turn. We will carve pumpkins; we will march in the snow; we will plant Ponca Sacred corn; we will build a solar barn in the route; we will conduct our own Citizen Review of the pipeline; we will boo at TransCanada ads when the Huskers play in Memorial Stadium; we will shine lights on the Governors mansion; we will stand with Randy; we will put up tipis with our Native allies; we will rock out with Willie Nelson and Neil Young; we will make large crop art installations; we will go door to door on horseback…
We — this unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations, environmentalists, grandmothers, rednecks, creative class, tattooed bikers, young people — will do everything and anything we can to show our power as citizens who decided to look Big Oil in the eye, pull back our sling shots, and take them down.
We are Pipeline Fighters…and we are just getting started.
After TransCanada’s Latest Hail Mary, Keystone XL is Doomed
Pres. Obama can and should reject now