Terry VanHousen

Dear Senator McConnell,

We live on the proposed route of Keystone XL pipeline. Our farms and ranches are directly at risk of a tarsands and benzene spill. While we understand the need for the federal government to discuss jobs, we also believe our property rights should not be traded away for an export pipeline that brings 35 jobs long-term to our country.

We ask, even knowing you support the Keystone XL pipeline, that you vote for Sen. Menendez and Sen. Cantwell‘s amendment (SA 72) that makes it clear TransCanada can not take land from un-willing sellers.

You would never pass a bill allowing a solar or wind company to take our land, so why are you letting a foreign tarsands pipeline take our land when we do not want the pipeline mixing with our Agriculture livelihoods?

Many of our farms and ranches individually employ and support more than 35 jobs in our towns. Collectively, the Agriculture industry in Nebraska alone provides more than $21 billion in revenues. If you want to talk about supporting and creating jobs, then let’s get to work on infrastructure for rural bridges and reliable rural broadband.

Some of us recently put solar on our barns, irrigation pivots and homes. We are building energy in our state that puts more energy on our state’s power grid than Keystone XL ever will since they take energy from our state, they never put energy back on to our grid.

We are standing up for our property rights. Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Cantwell (D-WA) are standing up for our property rights. If you believe eminent domain should never be used for private gain, you will vote “yes” when the amendment comes to the floor.

If you vote against this common sense amendment, it will show farmers and ranchers across our nation that you think a private company should take land using eminent domain for their private gain.

Worse, your actions will set a dangerous precedent that Congress now does the bidding of a single, foreign corporation’s one pipeline project. That is not the Nebraska or American way. It certainly is not how we do business in our small towns.

Hoping you do the right thing,
Farmers and Ranchers with Bold Nebraska and NEAT (the Nebraska Easement Action Team)

PS: We sent an invitation to you back in November inviting you to visit with us on the actual route. We even said we could host a “Bourbon Summit.” You never responded. The invitation is still open.

PSS: In case you need some links to our concerns about water, here you go.