“I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
—Dan Watermeier, on accepting campaign contributions from TransCanada, backer of proposed Keystone XL pipeline project that may come back up for a vote before the Public Service Commission (Associated Press, May 29, 2018)
Dan Watermeier, the former state legislator and now Republican candidate for Nebraska Public Service Commission, has readily accepted a campaign contribution from TransCanada — the company behind the notorious proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could come back up for a vote before the very Commission for which Watermeier is running.
When confronted by a reporter from the Associated Press about the conflict of interest arising from having accepted campaign donations directly from a company with a huge project he could potentially be voting on at the Commission, Watermeier stated: “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
The cash for Watermeier is just the tip of the iceberg of TransCanada’s slush fund to buy influence in Nebraska. The company also recently gifted $25,000 to Gov. Ricketts’ campaign, $15,000 to the Nebraska Republican Party and $25,500 to state lawmakers.
Watermeier, who has also publicly stated his support for Keystone XL, is running for a seat on the PSC in a district that includes the city of Lincoln and Lancaster County — the populous home to many of the Pipeline Fighters who have been key to supporting the unlikely alliance of landowners, Tribal Nations and local citizens standing up to protect our land and water against eminent domain and a foreign tarsands export pipeline.
Christa Yoakum, the Democrat challenging Watermeier in the PSC District 1 race, has publicly stated her opposition to Keystone XL and the abuse of eminent domain for private gain. Yoakum said she is “concerned about the environmental impact [of KXL]” and “even more troubled by the lack of due process for landowners in the most recent proposal. People should not have their land taken away for the interest of a for-profit, international corporation.”