Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.

Thursday, October 18th

OWH Endorses John Ewing: The Omaha World Herald has endorsed John Ewing for the House of Representatives. If you have followed BOLD Nebraska for long, you know that we whole-heartedly support this endorsement, and agree with the OWH that it’s time to get Terry out of the House. Check out our write-ups on Ewing and Terry in our New Energy Voter Guide. It’s important to note, and the OWH did, that they have endorsed Lee Terry in every one of the 7 elections Terry has competed to win. But they note that Lee Terry has not shown much leadership during his 14 years in office, 10 of which the Republican party had a majority. Except, of course, in trying every way possible to force through the KXL, and he even managed to screw that up. But the OWH did more than point out why Terry has been a poor Representative for Nebraska. The paper noted that John Ewing is an exemplary public servant who has demonstrated his leadership capabilities, and his willingness to cross party lines in order to get stuff done–something that is very badly needed in our U.S. Congress. Read here

Citizens Testify in Hauler Agreement Hearings: The York News Times has been doing great coverage of the York County Board of Commissioners hearings with the public over its haul route agreements with TransCanada. The Board of Commissioners came to an agreement on the first KXL pipeline route, but the route was changed in York County–meaning they have to use different roads and come to a new agreement. Important points regarding haul route permits that citizens made at the hearing include the fact that it is not clear who has liability in the event that the county or an individual harms the pipeline (though it appears that it is not TransCanada’s liability), the need to have fines and policies in place in the event that TransCanada damages roads and bridges, and the need to not make a hasty decision. There were many other excellent testimonies by citizens, read part 1 of the reporting here and part 2 here

TransCanda Shuts Down Keystone I: Earlier today, TransCanada had to shut down its first Keystone pipeline, and announced it will remain shut down for three days. The reason for shut-down is an “undisclosed anomaly.” As is noted by the NWF, TransCanada had to shut down its line more than a year ago due to mechanical problems, and had an investigation launched against it by Canada’s National Energy Board just days ago for shoddy safety culture. Read here , Check out BOLD Nebraska’s Jane Kleeb’s statement here


Wednesday, October 17th

We Need to Know: The PSC hearing was yesterday, and we are pleased that they have a solid set of rules and regulations that had a lot of public input.  Unfortunately, they may never get used because of LB 1161, which allows oil pipelines seeking permits to bypass the PSC and utilize the Nebraska DEQ process instead, which is less rigorous. LB 1161 was passed in all of 15 minutes with no public hearing. The lawyer testifying on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Oil Pipelines during the PSC hearing tried to argue that it would be impossible to provide information on what would be flowing through oil pipelines. This is a big red flag for many reasons, including the fact that our state’s first responders and others do not have emergency response plans on the first Keystone pipeline that is in our state. In TransCanada’s case, it is extra alarming given that Canada’s National Energy Board is investigating the company due to a whistleblower raising concerns about the competency of some pipeline inspectors and the company’s lack of compliance with welding regulations. Read here and here

“Corn Belt Moving North”: Last night, our candidates for President of the United States did not mention climate change once. Nebraska Senate Candidate Deb Fischer doesn’t believe human-caused climate change is real. Well in the words of Paul Krugman, they may not care about climate change, but climate change cares about them. And climate change is affecting Nebraska, and will affect our state into the future as well. One way it affects us is in changing what our farmers can grow. The warming climate is “sending the corn belt north,” meaning driving across Nebraska ten years from now might be defined by fields and fields of…not corn. An “ebbing” Ogallala Aquifer and increased irrigation because of a dryer climate is also a concern–which once again brings us back to the importance of not risking that water for a tar sands export pipeline. Read here

Made by China: Canada’s pro-tar sands Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and Chinese government officials are in the midst of closing a trade deal that will allow Chinese resource companies to “take over Canadian resources and then sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if the government does anything that threatens the company’s profits.” This means that if the deal goes through, Canadian tar sands will be a free for all for Chinese companies that will have the power to operate without care for environmental or human rights standards. When it comes to KXL, we are not dealing with a “friendly neighbor to the north.” We are dealing with foreign corporate powers and their friends, and in the long run, will only be helping to enrich Chinese oil corporations. Read here


Tuesday, October 16th 

Tonight Romney and Obama will square off for their second debate–town hall style. We’re hoping Obama will bring a better game this time. Watch here at 8 pm Central time. Here’s your Roundup: 

Still in the Sandhills and Aquifer: InsideClimateNews has released a story on the current situation of our fight against the KXL in the wake of TransCanada releasing its newest map, and the uncertainty of when major decisions will be made. While we are unsure of when the State Department will be holding its next hearings or what the NDEQ will find in its assessment of TransCanada’s latest route, we continue to be diligent in fighting for Nebraskans. Today, the final PSC hearing took place, and we are very hopeful that these hearings will yield a diligent process with tough rules and regulations for siting oil pipelines—and we hope this is a process that TransCanada will have to go through. We continue to work with landowners, and are hopeful that all BOLD Nebraskans will stay involved because we are still certain about many things, including: 1) despite the reroute of KXL, it still goes through the Sandhills, and it still goes through the Ogallala Aquifer; 2) risking our land and water for a dangerous export pipeline is not good for Nebraskans; and 3)TransCanada is not a good neighbor. Read here

How Obama Helped Nebraska: This cool tool introduced by the Obama campaign shows how Nebraskans have been helped over the past four years under an Obama presidency. For starters, the typical Nebraska family saved $3,663 due to tax cuts. From 2008 to 2011, 63.8% more young Nebraskans got help paying for their education–45,942 students in Nebraska received an average of $3514 in Pell Grants last year alone. Seniors also saved under Obama, with 24,042 seniors in Nebraska saving an average of $680 on prescriptions due to the Affordable Care Act. Check out other ways Obama helped Nebraskans here

Another Court Victory for Obama: The Supreme Court ruled today that Ohio’s effort to stop early voting a week before the election is not permissible, and kept in place a lower court’s ruling that all voters had to be treated the same—this was in response to the state trying to take away citizens’ right to vote in the three days leading up to the election, but still permissing members of the military to do so. Obama caught fire for filing a lawsuit against Ohio for their new rule, but the court evidently agreed with the assessment that it was an unfair restriction on voting. Dems are calling this a victory because if the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, they argue that their supporters would have been the ones hampered in exercising their voting power. Read here