Skip to main content

Many people think the issue is over and the pipeline is defeated, but it is far from it.  

Yesterday my friend Cecily and I attended the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) public hearing on the pipeline re-route proposal.  The hearing was held in Albion, Nebraska, a town of 1650 people in rural north central Nebraska. Albion is in the middle of the latest proposed pipeline route, which still runs right over the precious Ogallala Aquifer, the very thing NE Governor Heineman wrote to President Obama asking him to stop.

There were hundreds of people at the meeting, the majority in strong opposition.  An impressive number of farmers and ranchers who were on the old route showed up to testify against the new one because it isn't right to do this to their neighbors, either.

Representatives of Americans For Prosperity were also there, as were lots of people walking around in t-shirts that said to support the pipeline because it brings jobs and energy independence, neither of which it does.  Labor unions strongly support the pipeline based on the bogus job-creating claim.

The NDEQ's own report says just 10 permanent Nebraska jobs will be created by the XL pipeline.  That's right, ten.  No more than the number of fingers on your hands.
The lies in the pipeline supporter's testimonies were rampant, bold-faced and shocking.  Several people conflated it with national security, the price of gas, human rights in other countries, etc.  It was just amazing.  
Some supporters maintained the pipeline would reduce the US dependency on foreign oil, even though it is well-known that all of the oil going through the pipeline is destined for sale to foreign countries.  

What the pipeline will do is keep us stuck in an unrequited love affair with fossil fuels that is killing our planet.

One pipeline supporter mispronounced "Ogallala Aquifer" so many times that some one finally yelled out, "Nebraskans pronounce it 'Oh-ga-la-la'!" to which she haughtily admitted, "Well, I'm from North Carolina!"

Several Native American tribal elders attended to ask for rejection of the pipeline, pointing out that since they were never consulted on where it crosses their land, it violates long-standing US treaties with sovereign nations and it violates the US Constitution.  I couldn't help but think about the irony in that for the tea partiers in attendance.  I also thought, "When are we going to stop taking land from the Native Americans in this country?!!"

A representative from Nebraskans for Energy Independence testified in favor of the pipeline based on his organization's position that energy policy should be an "all of the above" approach. I hear Obama say this too, but I always hope it's just his way of placating opposition to renewables and allowing a bridge from old to new technology.  When you see it applied in your own back yard, it's less attractive.

More than one member of the general public pointed out that Keystone maintains, and the NDEQ mysteriously accepts, a monitoring standard that allows 1-2% flow leakage from the pipeline into the environment without detection.  This apparently equates to an "acceptable leak", otherwise they would use stricter controls.

Put in real terms, this means that 588,000 gallons per day of oil mixed with colorless, odorless and tasteless toxins can enter a water supply that is the economic and personal lifeblood of Nebraskans.  Without detection and without remediation.  The oil is laced with toxins that render a standard swimming pool-sized volume of water undrinkable with just one tablespoon!

I was reminded of the scene in the movie "Erin Brockovich" where an official from the polluting agency pointedly turned down the hospitality of a homeowner who offered him a glass of water from her well.

There is so much more to say about the issue in general and the meeting in particular, but one story sticks in my mind.

A farmer got up to say the original pipeline route was supposed to cross his land and a pumping station was to be built in his back yard.  A couple representatives of the electric company came to his house and offered him a check on the spot for $15,000 if he would sign an easement for their lines.  He said, "But the pipeline route is not finalized.  What if you don't end up using my property?"  They said, "That's okay, you get to keep the money anyway."  He said, "But what about the person who can't pay a $100 electric bill from you?  You'd turn off their service, wouldn't you?  How do you square that with letting me keep $15,000 for nothing?" They replied, "Never mind about that, this is just the way business works."

The experience brought to mind a 2005 anti-war protest march my husband and I joined in Washington DC.  One person had a sign that said, "I can't believe we still have to protest this sh*t".  It is so frustrating to have to do the job we pay watchdog agencies to do.

Speakers had to sign up, and I was number 156.  At 9:30pm they were only on speaker number 56, after 3.5 hours.  They were going to end the meeting at midnight no matter what, so I used their (no doubt deliberately) difficult to operate laptops to type up my testimony, and turned it in to be placed on record.  I could have gone home and emailed it, but I can be forgiven if I don't trust their process.

We were famished, and on the way out I saw a pipeline supporter setting out a plate of sandwiches in the lobby, probably for other supporters.  I steered Cecily over and we swooped in on that.  I figured I was doing the supporter a favor by making him useful.

We got back to my house at 11:30pm, after an 8+ hour ordeal.  83-year-old Cecily spent the night rather than driving another hour+ to her home in the dark.  From what I understood from talking to others, it was a far longer day for them.  

More opposition folks than supporters were still at the meeting when we left, and clearly were staying to the bitter end.  I was very encouraged by their tenacity, intelligent and impassioned testimony, the commitment of Bold Nebraska and the Sierra Club, and the courage of many of the speakers who called out everybody from the Koch Brothers to the Tea Party to Big Business to the NDEQ, which is clearly in their pockets.

It was refreshing to see rural Nebraskans, whom I often misjudge as primarily Kool-Aid drinking conservatives, speak out in the way they did against the unnecessary and unjust Keystone XL pipeline.  They personified the hypocrisy of a "conservative" (i.e. anti-change!) mantra that purports to support personal freedom, but nonetheless wants to make generations of landowners put their family land at permanent risk for corporate gain. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.  I was proud of many rural Nebraskans last night.

In case anyone doubts NDEQ's commitment to protecting the environment as their charter requires, here's a photo I took of the one and only trash can by the door of a hall full of hundreds of people.  Note the aluminum cans and plastic in the trash.  The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, a state agency whose individuals are expressly paid to protect our environment, didn't even bother to take the simple act of providing a recycling bin at a large public meeting.  

It's almost like they just don't care.

Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM PT: Hillary Clinton is working against us on this!  See:

As a Democrat, populist, environmentalist and person of common sense, she should do better than this.  And Susan Rice doesn't offer us any hope, does she?  Very disappointing.  I am so tired of having to watch our side and theirs, too.

I guess we now all have to write Secretary Clinton and Susan Rice and tell them to represent us.  I don't care why they think it would be good for foreign policy, domestic policy should trump that.

Originally posted to Nancy Meyer on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:03 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the in-person report (21+ / 0-)

    I hope this thing can still get blocked.

    Whether it's by federal, state, or local action, I really don't care, as long as it's stopped.

    Please proceed, governor

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:16:44 AM PST

  •  Not dead? (6+ / 0-)

    I think it's just about a done deal.  I seriously doubt Obama is going to block the revised route.

  •  A way to mitigate leakage (6+ / 0-)

    Require the companies install the pipe inside a larger pipe with monitoring/collection stations every 50 miles or so.  Make them pressure test and corrosion-proof both pipes.  It should only increase cost by about 30% and if the Keystone boondoggle is such a good deal, it will still make the Koch Brothers billions.  

  •  People thought it wasn't going to be built? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, cai, jolux, Midwesterners, marina, J M F

    I had already pretty  much decided it was a fait accompli unless people fought a bloody fight and kept going to jail labeled as Eco-terrorists by the real Eco-terrorists.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:45:26 PM PST

    •  Pipeline companies never expect the first (6+ / 0-)

      route proposal to get approved.

      The Tar Sands Partners are very savvy, dont expect them to give up just cause the first or second route isnt approved.

      KeystoneXL represents about 950 barrels a day from a source they think can produce 3.5 million barrels a day. From their perspective they need to build 3.5 million barrels a day of pipeline capacity.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:33:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If that's the case, Roger Fox, (5+ / 0-)
        Pipeline companies never expect the first route proposal to get approved.
        Then each time they move the route, they acquire more and more opponents. That sounds like a good thing to me. Eventually, everybody can oppose it, and then the good work is finished.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:23:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the past, it seemed that when similar action (3+ / 0-)

          was taken over different sorts of project, the powers that be relied on a couple of things.

          1. That neighbors would turn on each other, allowing the poorest, and most isolated to become the route.

          2. People would just run out of time and energy to fight it.

          Communities can fight unwanted projects, but they really have to stick together and watch out for each other.

          I am very thankful that is happening here. Thank you to the author for posting this extremely important story, and thank you to the author also for taking the time to speak out on this issue.

  •  Thank you both for attending. Should be on (13+ / 0-)

    rec list.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:14:28 PM PST

  •  Thank you for the in-person report. (9+ / 0-)

    It's good to hear that Nebraskans are informed and involved.

    The idea of someone showing up with a check like that also strikes me as extremely sketchy.  Even if somebody wanted to sell easement rights (or any other rights) to their land, that's the sort of decision that should require a contract, and therefore at the very least time to read it and probably legal help to look it over.  

    The companies who do that clearly want people to be blinded by the zeroes in the check and not look into alternatives, better offers, fine print of the deal, etc.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:26:16 PM PST

  •  Just a note (4+ / 0-)

    The largest product from the tar sands is syncrude, if that trend continues, the Keystone will be moving not bitumen but syncrude, if its built.

    Medium grade syncrude sells like hotcakes on the market, bitumen refining capacity is being expanded in Alberta.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:37:00 PM PST

  •  How many of those farmers and ranchers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    vote Democratic?  While being a Republican is no reason to ignore someone's environmental concerns, it's hard for me to see rural Nebraska's opposition to this as something other than NIMBY-ism.  How many of them otherwise complain about the President's "war on coal"?  How many of them drive big trucks?  How many of them care about environmental conditions in Saudi Arabia as much as they care about the Ogallala Aquifer?

    To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

    by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:51:23 PM PST

    •  The pipelne of built ill cause the closing of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, Just Bob, Calamity Jean

      about a dozen refineries here in the Midwest leading to higher gas prices and eventually higher food costs.

      The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

      by cherie clark on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:59:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good try, generally but naive, and it shows. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jolux, play jurist

      First, damned near all of them vote Republican - have for generations, likely will for some more. It may be in the DNA.

      NIMBY comment is spot on.

      Most would not know what you are talking about with "war on coal." Really.

      Most drive big trucks. Not the pickups I suspect you are thinking of, but real trucks, stock racks, grain boxes, semis, etc. Those are tools of the business. As for the pickups, (big trucks in your lingo) 4-wheel drive is handy when your house may be a couple of miles from the road and neither your driveway or the road has been plowed after a heavy snow.

      I invite you to go to Albion and make the case for Saudi Arabian environmental concerns. I'd like the ticket concession. Heck, let's do that anywhere.

      Getting old ain't for sissies.

      by flatlander30 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:05:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think NIMBY is quite accurate (8+ / 0-)

        because that concept is about how some locals stuck with the potential development of some facility might contribute to the need for it, support the need for it and receive some benefits but just don't want it built close to them.

        This is a case where a pipeline hundreds of miles long benefits a Canadian company and foreign countries that will receive the oil.  How many Nebraska jobs get created?  Not many and certainly not many permanent ones.

        Also the spread of damage is potentially very large and long lasting.  This is a damned big "backyard".

        There is already an existing pipeline a few miles East - already in their "backyard", if you like.  One of the top questions is why the new one can't be parallel to the existing one that mostly stays away from the aquifer.  And there is no answer from Keystone I've seen that isn't full of gobbledygook.  

        There is a difference between a spill on the ground in most places compared to a spill on porous soils above and in an aquifer.  And we're talking about arguably the largest aquifer in the world here.

        The Ogallala Aquifer, part of the High Plains Aquifer System, is a vast yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. One of the world's largest aquifers, it covers an area of approximately 174,000 mi² (450,000 km²) in portions of the eight states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. It was named in 1898 by N.H. Darton from its type locality near the town of Ogallala, Nebraska.[1]

        About 27 percent of the irrigated land in the United States overlies this aquifer system, which yields about 30 percent of the nation's ground water used for irrigation. In addition, the aquifer system provides drinking water to 82 percent of the people who live within the aquifer boundary.[2]

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:49:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, there were the ones on the previous route (6+ / 0-)

      showing up to fight the new route -- that's not NIMBYism.  

      Nor is it widespread concern for everywhere, yet, but don't write it off.  Some of the best allies for environmental groups -- indeed, some of the most effective environmental activists -- have been hunters, ranchers, fishers, etc.  People who are in touch with the land, see what is happening with it, and care deeply about the outcome.  

      Most people act where they are, on local issues, first or primarily.  And they get more credibility when they do: the person who lives next to the coal plant, or in the path of the proposed pipeline, or downstream from the nuclear plant, they're going to have more credibility within the community when they speak up than most outsiders.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:28:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a resident of Carolina (5+ / 0-)

    I apologize for the idiot who couldn't pronounce the local toponym.

    I take all this as a good thing, even if the locals otherwise have voted Republican - same way as the people in TX fighting this thing on their land, with and without outside help. Even if it's NIMBYism. It's everyone's backyard, in the end.

    You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

    by kayak58 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:27:33 PM PST

  •  Delay is good (9+ / 0-)

    since the Motiva refinery, in Port Arthur, was doubled in size to handle the tar sands oil to become one of the largest refineries in the world.

     But when the expanded Motiva refinery was started up, it caught fire, some stuff blew up, and it apparently is still not operating up to speed. I'm not saying non-union construction labor had anything to do with it.  Motiva's alleging design flaws.

    So even if the tar sands get to Port Arthur, Motiva isn't ready to refine it for awhile.

    Being a Cornhusker, I'd sure hate to see the Platte River polluted, the Platte being the mile-wide, foot-deep above-ground portion of the Ogallala aquifer. The cranes have been overnighting on the Platte for millions of years.

    The unions are mainly interested in the thousands of two-year long construction jobs, not the handful of permanent pipeline operations jobs.

    The only evidence I've seen for Tar Sands export is that Valero, who also has a Port Arthur refinery, and will buy about 1/6th of the Tar Sands, brags on their web site about exporting lots of refined products to Europe.

    •  Not entirely true, the IBEW is against it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Not quite (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, Eyesbright

        The IBEW (electrical construction workers) do support the pipeline.  So do the Teamsters, Laborers, Pipefitters, and heavy equipment operators. Those are the unions of folks who would build the pipeline.

        Several other unions have spoke against the pipeline, whom do not have any work at stake. Opponents include the million plus member SEIU, and the Autoworkers.

        The Steelworkers oppose the pipeline, and they represent refinery workers.  You'd think they'd want an additional source of feedstock to keep the refineries extra busy.  But they object based in part of the use of foreign and non-union-produced steel for the pipe.

  •  Terrific report, Nancy. Thanks, n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1, DawnN, Eyesbright, Calamity Jean

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:58:31 PM PST

  •  Thanks Nancy (5+ / 0-)

    I've just been looking over some NDEQ documents and it's real hard to tell what is going on.  One thing I wonder about is whether NDEQ gave Keystone  encouraging signs early on about the point where they initially planned on entering the state.  They were already on top of the Ogallala aquifer right there.  Why didn't the NDEQ demand they enter the state farther to the East nearer the original?

    I'm just trying to find out two things:

    Why isn't the NDEQ restricting it from being over the aquifer more?  


    Why aren't they running parallel to the existing pipeline I keep reading about?  I can't find a straight answer to that either.  

    Both Keystone and the NDEQ know that those are two of the biggest concerns.  They seem to make pulling that out as difficult as possible.  That doesn't pass the smell test.

    My family has a farm South of Hasting - going back many generations.  I shudder to think what is going to happen to that groundwater.

    I don't know much about this, but if you can enlighten me I sure would appreciate it.

    And thank you for speaking out and doing what you're doing

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:16:57 PM PST

    •  Your points are very good ones, and I wish I could (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Satya1, Eyesbright, Calamity Jean

      answer them.  I suggest you go to and pose them to the experts there.  My guess is that there are no satisfactory answers to them, unfortunately.  Both Bold Nebraska and the Nebraska Sierra Club have some good info on the topic.

      Bold Nebraska is asking people to write letters to the editor of any Nebraska paper, so here are the emails for submission to the three largest:

      Omaha World-Herald:
      Lincoln Journal-Star:
      Grand Island Independent:

      I would also suggest that Nebraska residents write to their state senator, their US senators and their US representative.  Write one brief letter and send it to all, that's fine.  They need to hear from constituents.

  •  thanks for the great diary (6+ / 0-)

    I live nowhere near Nebraska, but I think the Ogallala is a national asset, maybe even a world asset as a geological feature and should not be risked for any reason. It's illegal to even get motor oil on the ground here, and petrol companies can leak tons with no consequences? This does not make sense to me.

  •  Thanks for your effort, and the report. n/t (3+ / 0-)

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:51:18 PM PST

  •  As a former Nebraskan... (6+ / 0-)

    ...and someone who lived just a few minutes from Albion, I want to add my voice to those who have thanked you for your participation. Oddly enough, every bit of it--especially the political complexity--sounds like home!

    Unfortunately it sounds like the Aquifer's days are numbered. Isn't there a proposed "big straw" to provide water to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex? Add that to the very real problems of ever-deeper center pivot irrigation and then top that off with Keystone--I'm really fearful that the Sand Hills as well as the Niobrara, Loup, Platte, Republican (!), Kansas, and Arkansas valleys are facing devastation. That would be sad. There's not a lot of people, but they are good people out there. And the landscapes are some of my favorites.

  •  Risking any damage to the acquifer (4+ / 0-)

    is like shooting yourself in the foot. It's just plain stupid to take any risk with a fresh water supply that size in a time of drought and unpredictable climate change.

    Unfortunately, Nebraskans are fed a steady diet of faux news. Every doctors office, every dentist office, every hospital. It's on the toobz every where. Unfortunately, they see it as news and buy every word.

    I live in Omaha but this issue seems a no brainer to me. Why would any one in this country want to risk, the acquifer...even if it's only a tiny risk? (and it's not)

    •  The pipeline also will draw water from the aquifer (4+ / 0-)

      for its own use, and it's a significant amount.  Last summer farmers and ranchers were on a rationing system and one testified that they doubted that Keystone would be subjected to the same restrictions.  In any event, this already stressed water supply will be crippled by increasing demands.  As you say, rejecting the pipeline for these reasons alone should be a no-brainer.

      Faux Noise is indeed on every TV in public places and private businesses.  I ALWAYS get up and change the channel or ask it to be changed.  I believe it is a moral obligation for everyone to do this where ever we go.  

      I have a bumper sticker on my car that says:  "Fox is Bad News for America" and I once heard a kid walking by ask his dad what that meant.  The parent told him, "Never mind, just keep walking."

      Be the change - write somebody:  the NDEQ, your state and congressional representation, the newspapers.  Don't assume the conservative bias in newspaper ownership means they won't print a liberal viewpoint.  They sell papers when there's more controversy.  The Grand Island Independent and the Fremont Tribune are very good about printing more moderate points of view.

      Thanks for your insightful comments.  I am so encouraged whenever a Nebraskan speaks up for sanity in any context!

    •  No, it isn't like shooting yourself in the foot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nancy Meyer, Eyesbright

      You can survive a shot to the foot and even make a full recovery.  No, this is more like shooting yourself in the gut with buckshot.

      "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

      by Quanta on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:59:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't Nebraska have enough Chemicals ALREADY? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My guess is yes. With all the chemicals used in farming fertilization it has to have affected their brains. On top of that a nuclear power plant that almost got flooded and would have did a tsunamis worth  of damage. And my guess is most are  against Obamacare.  No wonder they vote with the Repubs..

  •  The Craziness Never Ends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    They'll keep trying right up to the point the U.S. isn't liveable any more. After that, they'll want to ship the oil and gas to Alaska because the entire U.S. population will need it there.

  •  Local issues and involvement are critical, (3+ / 0-)

    but unless this gets connected to climate change and the global issues involved it's just a local zoning and routing issue hardly worth national attention. They'll eventually find a route, maybe around the Ogallala Aquifer. We need to start making the case on climate change and stop treating it like an unmentionable political hot potato. I hope that the ranchers and farmers are waking up to the fact that whatever the risks of a pipeline rupture there is a further fundamental injustice in forcing them to allow a product to pass through there land that threatens the very agricultural productivity of that land which has sustained families and the nation for generations. That's got to become part of the consciousness in states like Nebraska and Iowa. The political tipping point on climate change comes when the rural farm states wake up to what's at stake for agriculture.

    Another thing, on the whole issue of energy independence, people need to know that 60% of tar sands development is by Shell. Shell has partnerships in oilfield development, refining, etc. throughout OPEC including in Saudi Arabia. Shell is not in the business of making us independent of Shell. The truth of the matter is that tar sands has only recently even become an issue because the price of oil and global demand are enough to support its higher extraction costs. At any price where tar sands is profitable, sweet desert crude is making a huge margin. Although the energy independence argument is powerful from a public relations standpoint, it is utter bullshit from a reality standpoint.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:38:02 AM PST

    •  Agree with everything you said except (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, Eyesbright

      that unless [anything single connection] it is hardly worth national attention.  

      There are dozens of reasons why this issue affects all of us, nationally and internationally, and while climate change is one of them, it doesn't mean everyone who fights the pipeline has to use that in their argument or even believe in it.  

      Any of the many good reasons to fight this pipeline can and should be used as long as it gets more people on board to do what will be a good thing for everyone on many levels.

      •  Part of my context on this. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm an Iowan. I've been supremely frustrated that the Democratic candidates running against climate deniers like Sen Grassley and Rep King basically run away from the issue. I'm assuming they have polling that says it's not a winning issue, but if we're always conforming the message to the polls then we're never going to shift public opinion. Not only did we lose those races, we lost the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue and its implications for Iowa.

        I, with the utmost respect for your activism and what your doing, respectfully disagree that we should accept avoidance of the climate issue in messaging or sideline the issue to form alliances. You didn't quite put it that way but it is suggested when you say "it doesn't mean everyone who fights the pipeline has to use that in their argument or even believe in it."

        That kind of short-term strategizing leads to missed opportunities to educate people on the global scope of the ecological issues we face. I really do mean it when I say I respect what you're doing on the frontlines of this fight. I know when people say that then disagree it can sound condescending. I hope you won't take it that way, and I hope that you'll consider pushing the climate issue with your local allies a little more, maybe not front and center to the exclusion of the local issues but a definite part of the conversation.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am for the environment but (0+ / 0-)

          Against the notion that  Climate Change/Washington DC must do something about it... Our government has already made taxation unfair against most people. It has already made our elections a farce - two people  for the billionaire class running against each other every four years, etc.

          So while I think it is good to make sure that certain things happen, for instance, down-sizing our military, which takes away sixty five percent of the available oil and gasoline before it ever even reaches the "consumer" market, I worry about the government suddenly taking action around the issue of Climate Change. I foresee their actions being against the lower incomed, who have to rely on inefficient furnaces the landlords stick them with, who have to use older but more affordable cars and vans to get to work, etc.

          Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

          by Truedelphi on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:57:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Broaden your perspective. (0+ / 0-)

            From a global perspective continuing to change the climate will devastate the most economically vulnerable people, who rely on subsistence farming, spend most of their income on agricultural commodities, or lack the capital to adapt. I agree with your point about making sure that we don't just hammer the poor with an energy tax and that's something to push for in any legislation. However, doing nothing is far from the best thing from both an ecological and a social justice standpoint (as if they were distinguishable).

            Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

            by play jurist on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:35:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  We stand in the way of KXL (5+ / 0-)

    Nebraskans are not giving up our land and water so TransCanada can get risky tarsands on the export market. Nancy and hundreds of Nebraskans showed up to make it clear we will never give up and we are stopping this pipeline.

    Its become a suits vs boots fight and I am betting on the boots on the ground.

    Jane Fleming Kleeb,, Working to stop the TransCanada pipeline from ruining our land and water

    by janefleming on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:05:57 AM PST

  •  Keystone will fail, pipes always do (4+ / 0-)

    Thats why we have so many plumbers. I live down here in Louisiana and we are in the middle of a full blown environmental crises. Known as the "Bayou Corne sinkhole" it began in August and each week a football field or so chunk of land disappears into a 450' deep hole. This sinkhole was caused by the unbridled greed of the petrochemical industry. It has forced the evacuation of hundreds, contaminated a shallow aquifer with natural gas, polluted untold acres of swamp with crude oil.

    This is a 6+ acre sinkhole spewing raw crude oil, natural gas and NORM (a radioactive byproduct of fracking). It is a colossal failure of a salt dome cavern created by the petrochemical industry. Something they claimed could never happen. Official day by day account complete with photos and videos

    Keystone will fail, pipes always do. We cannot let them cut a gash through the heart of America just to enrich a few.


    "I'm mortified at the thought of anyone judging me on the state of my own toilets. But the tea masters' point is valid: Spaces that have been thoroughly and lovingly cleaned are ultimately more welcoming." - Tadao Ando

    by O Wabi Sabi on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:50:43 AM PST

  •  Thanks for representing us. Glad to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Truedelphi, Eyesbright

    so much opposition at the hearing.  Heinemann is even being publicly quiet now although obviously he wants it.

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:12:38 PM PST

  •  VERY important not to take our eye off the ball. (0+ / 0-)

    They will not stop trying to shove, sneak or slide this thing in.  There is too much money involved.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site