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Cowboy and Indian Alliance members Aldo Seoane and Tom Genung at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Sprit Camp in South Dakota.

November 13, 2014

Dear Senator Johnson and Representative Fortenberry,

We, the members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance along with thousands of others who stand with them, write to you today with one simple request: vote “no” on any bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Nebraska has no legal route, and South Dakota has not re-certified TransCanada’s expired construction permit. States’ rights mean something to each of you, as they do to all of us.

  • Voting for Keystone XL legislation prior to the outcome of the Nebraska landowners’ case before the Nebraska Supreme Court is a violation of due process designed to protect landowner rights and a slap in the face to the right of states to determine their own internal process for siting and routing as current case law now dictates.
  • Voting for Keystone XL ignores the fundamental tribal consultation that TransCanada has fumbled from day one. Keystone XL violates the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties.
  • Voting for Keystone XL would desecrate the Ponca Trail of Tears, which should be honored and commemorated, rather than defiled by a tarsands pipeline.
  • Voting for Keystone XL takes away landowners’ property rights, by using eminent domain for private gain.
  • Voting for Keystone XL risks our water supply, which is the backbone of our livelihoods.
  • Voting for Keystone XL significantly increases carbon pollution, which we need to reduce starting now.
  • Every day, our families care for the land that is directly at risk with this massive tarsands pipeline.

The project cuts through our land only so foreign oil interests can get their product to the export market. This pipeline has nothing to do with energy independence, and is not in the national interest of the United States.

Protecting our water and reducing the risk of climate change must be priorities. Voting to approve Keystone XL simply ignores these two critical tasks that are in your hands.

We applaud your support for renewable energy — projects like the “Oceti Sakowin Wind Power Project” on many tribal lands in South Dakota, and the rapid wind and solar development happening in Nebraska. Those projects honor property rights, tribal consultation, and in the long-term protect our land and water from the risks of climate change. These projects create long-term job security and economic development for our families.

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance welcomes you to tour the land and water that is directly at risk with this tarsands export pipeline, and visit with the caretakers who know every inch and every animal that walks the land. We are available whenever your schedule is open.

Please stand with our families and vote NO on any Keystone XL bill.

Standing with you,

John Hansen, Nebraska Farmers Union
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club
Greg Grey Cloud, Wica Agli Tribal Nations in South Dakota
Aldo Seoane, Wica Agli Tribal Nations in South Dakota
Susan Dunavan, Nebraska landowner
Tom and Cathie Genung, Nebraska landowners
Kevin and Shannon Graves, Nebraska landowners, farmers and hardware store owners
Terri Harrington, Jenni Harrington and Mike Newton, Abbi Kleinschmidt, Rick and Heidi Hammond, Meghan Hammond, Thomas Harrington-Newton, five generations of Nebraska farmers and ranchers
John Harter, South Dakota landowner and rancher
Art Tanderup, Nebraska landowner and farmer
Randy Thompson, Nebraska landowner