Bold teamed up with Oil Change International to create an infographic with basic facts on the pipeline in a visual way that we can all share on Facebook, Twitter and email. The graphic was designed by fellow Nebraskan Justin Kemerling. Citizens and landowners asked us to create a visual that had the basic facts on why we are fighting this export tarsands pipeline.

Now more than ever it is important to realize that the very same risks to our land and water that worried Nebraskans for the past three years still exist. The concerns of Nebraskans have been ignored by our legislature and by the DEQ, the state agency authorized by an unconstitutional bill to review this pipeline route. Gov. Heineman, who called on President Obama to deny the pipeline permit because the proposed route crossed the Ogallala Aquifer, has now flip-flopped and expressed his desire to see the project completed as soon as possible. Citizens will continue to rise up and show our strength as our elected officials sit by and watch a foreign corporation threaten our land and water.

Governor Heineman–if he ignores the lawsuit that is moving forward challenging the DEQ process–can make a decision on the route in January. The State Department will issue their report in January as well.  President Obama could make the pipeline permit decision by early spring.

The only way we stop this pipeline is by taking action and speaking up. Our country was founded by “we the people.” Let’s make sure our voices continue to shape our state and move our country forward without risking our land, water and property rights.


Take action to stop this pipeline:

1) Send a handwritten letter to President Obama (Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500): Ask President Obama to protect our homes and reject TransCanada’s pipeline permit. Remember to take a picture of your letter and tag it #nokxl on instagram or you can send it to and we can post the picture for you. The “Dear President Obama” site (launching on Jan. 7th) and has letter writing tips and will have all the pictures that folks send in of their letter.

2) Share the infograhics on Facebook: Help spread the word about the risks of this pipeline. On Bold’s Facebook page we posted shareable smaller graphics. You can direct people to this page for the data sources of the infographics.

3) Call Governor Heineman (Phone: 402-471-2244): Ask him to reject this pipeline route and to have the PSC review TransCanada’s application. Demand that he stand by his words and keep the pipeline out of the aquifer.  Ask him to deny the proposed Keystone XL route and put the power back in the hands of the Public Service Commission (PSC), which has clear rules and regulations for pipelines developed through citizen input. LB 1161 is unconstitutional and the judge is moving the lawsuit forward. Heineman should not continue to operate under this law.

4) Come to Washington DC on Feb. 17th or make an “oil spill’ panel: On President’s Day weekend, Americans from all over the country will gather for a national action to send a clear message to President Obama that he must stand up for the citizens of this country. If you can not join us in DC, you can still make an “oil spill” panel that we will bring with us to form a human pipeline. Get more details and sign up to come to DC.

5) Write a letter to your local paper about your concerns: Make sure you make it clear in your letter to the paper (often called LTEs or letters to the editor) that Gov. Heineman must honor his own words and reject this route that crosses the Aquifer and that President Obama must reject the permit to protect his climate legacy and to protect our homes. If you testified at the DEQ hearing, consider using parts of your testimony as your LTE. Get more tips and contact info for local papers.

The facts to backup the infographic:

The pipeline, which has a capacity to carry over 800,000 barrels (over 33 million gallons) of tarsands and chemicals (called dilbit) per day, still would cross a significant portion of the Ogallala Aquifer.

Tarsands is not traditional crude oil. It is dirtier, more corrosive and more difficult to clean up.

Saudi Arabia benefits from TransCanada’s pipeline.

Tax benefits are going to refineries to upgrade facilities for tarsands. The refineries that are linked to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline as committed shippers will receive between $1 billion and $1.8 billion in tax breaks.

Since the IRS says tarsands is not oil, TransCanada does not pay taxes into the Oil Spill Liability fund used for oil spill cleanup.

The pipeline would still cross areas defined as the Sandhills on many maps as well as areas with sandy soils and shallow water tables very similar to the Sandhills.

TransCanada’s leak detection system, which they claim is state-of-the-art, is not the most effective technology, with the potential to detect less than 5% of leaks.

The leaks TransCanada’s system won’t be able to detect could be up to 2% of the pipeline’s flow, or over 600,000 gallons of tarsands and chemicals that could be pumping into Nebraska’s groundwater, surface water and Ag land everyday.

TransCanada says their pipeline will only leak 11 times in its lifetime of 50 years.  Independent research predicts that it could leak up to 91 times.

The impacts of such spills are unknown.  No studies have been done on tarsands (or diluted bitumen) spills in the Ogallala aquifer. Congress has requested two different studies and yet those results are not ready at this time and might not even cover the specifics of the Aquifer.

TransCanada is under investigation for safety violations.

Building the Keystone XL is like adding 4 million cars to the highway.

Keystone XL is all about getting tarsands to Asia and the export market so TransCanada, the Canadian government and foreign investors can make more money while we carry all the risks.

No one knows what chemicals exactly are mixed with the tarsands and in what amounts because TransCanada has not released that information to anyone–not even to emergency responders and doctors, who need that information more than anyone. Nebraska could be the next BP or Kalamazoo disaster site.

TransCanada would like us to believe that their pipeline will give us jobs and energy independence.  According to the Nebraska DEQ report and independent studies, roughly 120 temporary jobs for Nebraskans will be created. The “thousands” of jobs fall to 20 jobs when pipeline in the ground. Washington Post and other news outlets have pushed back repeatedly on the false job claims TransCanada keeps trying to use to sell this risky project.

Roughly 10% of the oil in the pipeline will be domestic product from the Bakken–the rest will be foreign-owned tarsands destined for foreign-owned refineries, to be sold on the world export market.

Importing oil from Canada does not displace oil from the middle east.

TransCanada wants us to believe that the $2.3 million they will pay in property taxes is more significant than our $17 billion agriculture economy which could be jeopardized by contamination to our state’s major water source.

Nebraskans will not be persuaded this easily.  All along we have demanded that our concerns be considered, and we have asked that our homes and state’s resources be protected.  We must continue to fight to make sure that our state lawmakers do not ignore those concerns or deny our requests.

More info:

Since 2010 we have worked hard to educate eachother about tarsands and the risks of this pipeline. You can read lots of articles and basic information we gathered over the last three years on our Pipeline Information page.

Some of the best editorials on the pipeline are written by Greg Awtry with York Times.

If you are a landowner in the proposed route or close to the route, the Nebraska Easement Action Team can help protect your property rights. A legal team is in place to help keep the power in the hands of landowners. Read more on the NEAT website. You can also read more about NEAT on Bold’s Landowner Information page.