We fought long and hard leading up to and during the Pipeline Special Session. Every single citizen who wrote, called, emailed, attended, and brought friends to all the different events should look in the mirror tonight and remind yourself…you are a pipeline fighter, you are a Sandhills lover, you protected our land and water. 

It is only because of our rebel alliance of ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, conservationists, young people, grandmas, professors, artists, entrepreneurs–Nebraskans–that we accomplished the impossible. We beat Big Oil.

ACTION: Please email or call your state senator thanking them for standing with Nebraskans and for standing up to TransCanada. Key senators deserve our additional thanks: Senators Haar, Dubas, Fulton, Sullivan, Flood, Langemeier, Lathrop and Avery all went the extra mile so emails to them would also be greatly appreciated. We have everyone’s email right here for you. You can and should include the concerns you still have about TransCanada, tarsands, landowner rights and our water.

We deeply understand many of us still want to see our state senators do more. We want our state senators to remember what senator Fulton said, “we are Nebraska state senators, not Canadian state senators.”

Recently a state senator asked if we could tell supporters to take down their yard signs. I don’t think so. We still have work to do. We still need to stand with landowners like Randy. We still need to watch TransCanada like a hawk because they have proven they can not be trusted. We still need President Obama to deny the permit.

The special session was a success and laid a foundation for more work we plan to do in the new year. Soon we will announce plans to visit towns across our state holding townhalls to get feedback on explaining the process on how the public can give input on the new route, what we did right in 2011, what we can do better and what we should focus on in 2012.

While you enjoy your Turkey or Tofurkey next week, take a look at pictures from all the events and make a toast to what we’ve accomplished and rest up for what lies ahead. Please tell us what you think in the comments section below.

The Bold team thanks each of you for standing with us, for standing with landowners like Randy and for continuing to defend our state against TransCanada’s risky, unnecessary tarsands pipeline. We are forever indebted to you for your grit and fighting spirit. 

Citizen Accomplishments

  1. The Presidential Permit decision for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed until early 2013 in order to study health effects, climate, possible risks to water and local economies.
  2. Governor Heineman called a special session to deal with pipeline siting and the current route after initially announcing he wouldn’t.
  3. TransCanada agreed to move the proposed pipeline out of the Sandhills even though they said it was impossible.
  4. Nebraska (pending final vote on Tuesday) will write an independent, state-based environmental study on alternative routes for the Keystone XL pipeline with procedures for public input. Since TransCanada started the federal permit process, this was the solution to have Nebraska certify the proposed route.
  5. We have a new law (pending final vote on Tuesday) thanks to Senator Dubas for a state-based oil pipeline siting process that requires all future oil pipelines to go through a public and rigorous analysis to get certification of proposed routes from the Public Service Commission.
  6. We have Senator Sullivan’s state-based law requiring oil pipelines to reclaim land.
  7. We proved a large group of watchful citizens have the power and collective will to not only get things done in our state but also to keep elected officials accountable. 

Focus in 2012

  1. Work with citizens and landowners on being very involved in the new route public process ensuring the “reroute” will not risk our land and water.
  2. Amend Senator Dubas’ Oil Pipeline Siting law to include Senator Haar’s idea of “avoidance” areas like the fragile Sandhills.
  3. Pass legislation proposed by Senator Avery strengthening eminent domain.
  4. Work to ensure current easements of Sandhills’ landowners cannot be purchased by other oil pipeline companies.
  5. Pass legislation to ensure oil pipelines are fully liable for oil spills and damage to roads and require financial assurance from pipeline
  6. Pass legislation to implement a clear chain of command and emergency response plan for oil pipeline spills and emergencies. 
  7. Improve Nebraska energy policies including incentives for energy efficiency and investments in the development of Nebraska-made energy like wind and biofuels that will provide long-term economic development opportunities, especially in our small towns. 

*Note to clarify our position on tarsands, on traditional crude oil and TransCanada’s Keystone XL: Bold Nebraska supports energy independence. In practical terms, this means ensuring our energy portfolio includes wind, biofuels, efficiency, natural gas, geothermal and, yes, oil. We do not support foreign oil. We do not support tar sands oil. We do support Nebraska-made energy and see the development of Nebraska-made energy like wind a real opportunity to develop a new energy economy in our state, especially in our small towns. If Nebraska wanted to safely explore more areas of oil extraction in our state, we would be behind that 100%. We are not behind the irresponsible extraction of tar sands which emits more carbon, has more chemicals involved, uses more water, uses more natural gas and leaves toxic ponds of sludge behind. Tar sands is not like traditional oil, not at all. Our yards signs and message from the beginning have said “Stop the pipeline.” We know we can only stop the pipeline at the federal level, and we are working to do just that. On a state level, in regards to oil pipelines, we will continue to work on laws that protect our state, land and water in areas such as spill liability, local emergency response, bond for road repairs, water rights, wetland protection, landowner rights and eminent domain.