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.

Friday, September 7th

Nebraska has now topped the states to the title of having the worst drought of them all. Just last week the portion of Nebraska covered by the worst level of drought was around 23%, now over 70% of our state is covered by the worst case of drought. Water is a precious commodity. Let’s not be hasty in putting our water at risk – #nokxl. Here’s your Roundup:

White House Dems Have a Better Business Record: Bloomberg has come out with an analysis that pokes a pretty big hole in the Republican’s narrative of being the only capable job creators and the party of business. Over the past five decades, almost twice as many private sector jobs were created during the tenures of Democratic presidents than during the time Republicans were in office. And Dems had less time in the White House during this period. While there are many factors that go into private sector job creation–it doesn’t just depend on who is in the White House–this revelation still means Republicans can’t keep claiming that they have a better record and are better at promoting private sector growth. Read here

What We Are Fighting For: Andrew Norman of Hear Nebraska writes a beautiful piece about the serenity of a Sandhills sanctuary. He writes about the landscape: “a mix of meadows, natural prairie and shade trees with the darkest skies and most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen.” But he also says “it’s the river…that makes this piece of land so magnificent.” This is what the Nebraska Sandhills are like. This is what we are fighting for when we fight TransCanada. And this is what has made us so strong in that fight–we’ve got something worth fighting for. Read here

Money Talks: Although the headline says “both sides agree” that the KXL will get approved no matter who wins the election, their idea of “both sides” is someone who doesn’t seem to believe human caused climate change is real and someone whose law firm works for TransCanada. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the President, if re-elected, can use a denial of another permit application by TransCanada as a platform to push his new energy plan that includes domestic oil, domestic gas, and a CLEAR path for clean, homegrown energy. Not only did he make a point to say that his new fuel efficiency standards would save more oil than the KXL could pump in 45 years, but he also told NET that he has greater concerns for the health and safety of communities over any amount of jobs. Read here


Wednesday, September 5th

TransCanada has released their new proposed route. It still crosses the Sandhills and the Aquifer, and it still risks our land and water. Read Jane Kleeb’s statement and find details and next steps here. Here’s your Roundup:

A City Alarmed as their Aquifer is Contaminated: A fuel leak into an aquifer threatens Albuquerque’s drinking water. Nearly 500 feet below the surface, a plume of aviation gas and jet propellant has leaked undetected. The source of the plume is a pipeline used to move fuel from trucks to train cars on the Kirtland Air Force base. Base officials say they know millions of gallons of fuel have leaked from the pipeline, and though they aren’t sure exactly where the plume has spread to, they say there is little likelihood that Albuquerque’s drinking supply will be contaminated. For the sake of over half a million people, we certainly hope that is true. The fuel had an easy time getting through the sandy soil, and officials say more extensive action will have to be taken to clean up the groundwater. Read here

Spreading Lies: Despite the fact that the wildly inflated estimates that the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs was debunked long ago, politicians are still throwing around those numbers. And they aren’t being called out by the media. The fact that these flat out lies are not being corrected means that the American public is still being drastically misled about the “benefits” of the KXL. As we have reported many times, TransCanada’s own spokespeople have said that only hundreds of jobs will actually be created by their pipeline. Read here and watch a video here illustrating how the KXL job estimates have inflated over time.

Blockaders Stop Work on KXL: Today, the Texas Tar Sands Blockade successfully shut down TransCanada’s pipeline builders for the third time. Five blockaders risked arrest, and success was final around 1:00 pm today, when the police left the scene and said to everyone still there ““Whatever you do make sure everyone’s safe.” The blockaders were from Texas as well as out of state, and one key detail to point out from this blockade is that none of the license plates on the equipment being used to build the pipeline were from Texas. That’s right. Just as we have been promised that the KXL would bring “local jobs,” so was everyone else on the route–but in Texas, those “local workers” came from Oklahoma, Tennesee, and Pennsylvania. Read here


Tuesday, September 4th

The Democratic National Convention starts today. You can check out the schedule, watch videos and get updates here. Here’s your Roundup:

“Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney” : Mitt Romney’s go-to attacks against President Obama have been centered around our nation’s economy–turning it into a race about debt and using “we did build that” as a rallying cry. According to polls, most Americans do think that Mitt Romney would do a better job of managing the economy because he was a “businessman” for so many years. They have bought the narrative that Romney single-handedly turned around suffering companies and created thousands of jobs. But here’s the catch: Romney’s fortune was built upon loads of debt saddled upon troubled businesses, his success depended upon “direct assistance from the U.S. government,” and he actually killed a lot of jobs. Romney was able to make millions of dollars by making companies suffer and firing those belonging to the working class. The kicker is that his business model of exploitation wouldn’t have even been viable without the help of loopholes in the tax code and a government bailout. Read the Rolling Stone article that goes in-depth into Romney’s Greed and Debt here

Biofuels Need Investment: Scientists have been working to find alternatives to oil so that maybe the lifestyle mankind has developed with the help of oil can continue once it is depleted. Preventing further destruction that is being caused by the extraction of ever harder to reach oil (i.e., tar sands) is also a motivator for these diligent scientists. Using algae as a biofuel is an idea that has taken hold, and NASA is working to show that it can work on a mass scale. There are many benefits to using algae. It is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, and wastewater can be used as a breeding ground that the algae will actually end up cleaning–obviously a good thing. Read here

Not Really a Culture of Safety: Investors who bought shares in BP before or immediately after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are now suing the company, saying they would not have done so had they “known the truth.” They claim that they were misled into purchasing the stocks by false assurances as to the safety of BP’s structures. Let’s be real here. All oil companies say they are 100% safe, all of them somehow manage to be top of the line. At the same time, in 2010 there was on average 18 spills, leaks, fires or explosions caused by oil and/or gas per day just in the United States.  How can an oil company really mislead people into believing everything about it is completely, 100% safe? It’s common knowledge that those on Wall Street “lie and cheat,” shouldn’t that be common knowledge for the oil industry’s safety standards too?


Monday, September 3rd

Happy Labor Day folks! It’s been over 100 years since the first nation-wide Labor Day was officially established by Congress. Thanks to all those workers who bring us this long weekend and so much more! Here’s your Roundup:

Coal is Out, Clean is In: Two Chicago coal plants have officially shut down. Midwest Generation decided to close the huge CO2 emitters after the plants were identified as needing to make expensive upgrades in order to meet federal air standards. The company decided that investing in retro-fitting these outdated polluters would not be worth it. Instead, they will invest in “a cleaner energy future that’s less polluting and uses more Illinois wind and other clean resources.” Unfortunately, when faced with a similar choice, our own NPPD voiced (still unfinalized) plans to invest in the expensive retrofit option instead of taking advantage of Nebraska’s wind resources. Read here

Who Will KXL Really Benefit?: As we have reported before, Canada will not be the only country developing the tar sands. China and Malaysia have already finalized deals to have their state-owned oil companies develop the tar sands. Kuwait’s state owned oil company is now aspiring to join that list. It is known by many Canadians deep in the tar sands business that “there is no way Canada can finance the development of the oil sands.” In turn, we can expect that many more countries will take up that mantle. It can be expected that many of these investments will come from countries that are already well-versed in oil exploitation, for example, those located in the Middle East. Given this information, KXL supporters claiming that building the pipeline will take us off of Middle Eastern oil have even less to stand on, don’t they? Read here

Donations Needed: At this point, the Region 23 Complex Wildfires are about the land size of metro Omaha. Hay Springs Public Schools is collecting items for fire fighters listed below. And Chadrad Communications, Inc., the radio station in Chadron is posting needs for coolers, bottled drinks, evacuations, closings, community meetings, etc. The following items would be helpful to the local fire fighters: chapstick, beef jerky, granola bars, and other such snack items that won’t melt or perish, white t-shirts, leather gloves, socks, and Visine eye drops. Gatorade or Powerade would also be appreciated. Items can be dropped off at Hay Springs Firehall. Thank you to Lilly Blase for sharing this information!