Last Saturday at the 8th Annual Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) convention in O’Neill, members passed a resolution to oppose the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline (attached below).

Rural Nebraskans Taking Action Against Keystone XL
by Amy Schaffer
(Photo: ICON members Joe Pongrantz and Bruce Boettcher) 
Joe and Bruce BoettcherLast Saturday at the 8th Annual Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) convention in O’Neill, members passed a resolution to oppose the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. As the resolution states, members do not see any long lasting benefits of KXL to Nebraska landowners, especially since TransCanada is not liable for economic damages in the event of a pipeline leak or spill. ICON members also acknowledged the route still crosses the Ogallala Aquifer and porous soils, and noted the eminent domain threats landowners have constantly faced from TransCanada while the project still lacks a Presidential permit. For all of these reasons, ICON members voted to pass a resolution to oppose the route of the KXL pipeline through the State of Nebraska.  
As Senator Al Davis has encouraged Nebraskans to donate to the Cattlemen Relief Fund, ICON members also voted to support donating to the Chadron Community Foundation.  Ranchers in western Nebraska are facing devastating consequences from the October blizzard, and ICON members wish to help them as they struggle to overcome the financial and emotional losses.  If you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating to the fund. Families will feel these losses for many years. 
The positive actions of ICON members looking out for agriculture families did not stop here. Members also voted to give a donation to R-CALF USA to support the fight to keep Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Undoubtedly, with all of the food safety concerns these days, consumers deserve to know where their food comes from so they can make educational purchasing choices. Without COOL, consumers have no way of identifying where their meat originates from.


Other rural Nebraska actions last week were a result of citizens writing on their electric bills to oppose the Rural Electric Association’s recent passage of a resolution to support KXL. This action resulted in the KBR board writing back and acknowledging the same concerns as citizens concerning KXL —ground water quality and the importance of ground water to the economy of Nebraska. Nebraska REA has no business taking a stance on this issue that will result in a foreign company using Nebraskans’ energy. The KXL pipeline will transport dirty energy and use dirty energy from coal-fired power plants to power the pumping stations. This will take Nebraskans backward instead of forward to a future of renewable and clean energy that will allow the next generation of Nebraskans to thrive.


ICON’s motto best sums up the actions of rural Nebraskans this past week: “We must stand together to honor our past, protect our present, and provide for our future.”
ICON Resolution 3 – 2013
Title: Resolution to Oppose the Route of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska.
Whereas: The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline doesn’t guarantee any long lasting benefits for landowners it crosses; and
Whereas: The route still crosses the Ogallala Aquifer as well as porous soil; and
Whereas: Many ranchers have experienced problems with the easements between them and TransCanada and have been threatened with eminent domain; and
Whereas: Major oil pipeline companies such as TransCanada are not bound by Nebraska law to
pay economic damages to landowners in the event of a pipeline leaks and spills;
Therefore be it resolved:
ICON opposes the route of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska.