As a registered Republican for over forty years I am appalled at the course of action that my party has chosen to take in regards to the Keystone XL pipeline. The Republicans have decided it’s time to hit the accelerator and ram this project through even without a full and unbiased assessment of its effects on the citizens and environment across the heartland of this nation.

Much to his credit President Obama has heard the voices of those of us who could have our livelihoods and way of life threatened by this project, and he has hit the brakes.  If the Keystone XL actually has merit then it should be able to withstand the rigorous and comprehensive review that it deserves, and has not gotten. A flawed environmental study, such as the first one, did very little to ease the minds of those of us who live and work along the proposed pathway.

In regards to jobs, I have been a working man all of my life, and I hate to see anyone who wants to work, out of work; but at what point do you place a few thousand temporary jobs ahead of some of our nation’s most vital natural resources? In a few months these temporary jobs would be long gone, but the risks of this massive pipeline would remain in the heartland of this nation for generations to come. As a grandfather, and someone who is trying to help feed this nation, I’m not willing to make that trade.

The politicians may find the Keystone XL to be some kind of a political game, a political football of sorts, to be casually punted about, but for those of us who live and work along its proposed pathway, it is anything but a game. It is instead viewed as a threat to our way of life that has in many instances taken several generations of work to achieve. If this project were truly in our national interest I’m sure most of us would look at it differently, but it is not, it is nothing more than an export pipeline being built to further enhance the profit margins of the big oil companies. Unfortunately, the big oil companies and their political allies have painted a much different picture of this project for the American public. 

As an ordinary citizen I find it distressing that so many of our elected officials are inclined to cater to the needs of their corporate sponsors instead of the people they are supposed to represent. I guess as the Keystone XL saga plays out we’ll know who is truly representing the citizens of this nation.

-Randy Thompson, Nebraska landowner