To: Editorial Boards, Reporters and Columnists
Contact: Eddie Scher,
Keystone XL Tar Sands
Pipeline – The Nebraska
the Nebraska Legislature yesterday passed LB 1161 to rubber stamp an
undetermined route through the state for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and
grant TransCanada the authority to use imminent domain to forcibly take
fact is the full Keystone XL pipeline
remains dead. Even the most
ill-conceived piece of TransCanada-backed legislation can’t change this status.
and indeed Americans from all 50 states will continue to fight to stop this
dangerous, unnecessary tar sands pipeline.
happened in the Nebraska Legislature yesterday speaks to broader issues
concerning TransCanada’s undue influence, public review, transparency, and
1161, the bill passed:
- Grants the authority to take land from Nebraska landowners to
TransCanada, a private foreign corporation with a record of abusing eminent
- Undermines safety reviews and bars opportunities
for public review of the route;
- Sacrifices its public process on the altar of
TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline; and
- Guts the Public Service Commission process adopted
during the special session.
the Legislature ignored the will of their constituents, but you can count on
Nebraskans to continue to fight to protect their land, water and their
children’s future,” said Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club Policy Advocate. “Since yesterday I’ve heard
from many Nebraskans, from ranchers and farmers and students to
cookie-making grandmothers, whose resolve to fight TransCanada’s risky pipeline
concerns about TransCanada’s lack of integrity are well-founded. For a better sense of TransCanada constant
change of message depending on the situation, and the many ways that LB 1161
landowners and waters for the interests of a foreign corporation, please review
the timeline below:
Summer 2010: TransCanada threatens to use eminent domain against Nebraska landowners.
August 2010: U.S. Senator Mike Johanns says the pipeline shouldn’t go through the
Sandhills, and sends letter to TransCanada telling them not to threaten landowners
with eminent domain.
February 2011: TransCanada executive testifies before Nebraska Legislature that they “had
no idea” that eminent domain threats were being used and promises that it won’t
April 2011: Nebraska
landowners receive letters from TransCanada threatening the use of eminent
domain if they don’t sign the rights to easements within 30 days.
August 2011: More than 700 people rally around the Governor’s mansion in opposition
to the pipeline.
August 31, 2011: Governor Heineman sends letter to Secretary of State Clinton requesting
DENIAL of the permit because the pipeline would put the Ogallala aquifer at
September 2011: More than 1,000 people appear in opposition to pipeline at State
Department hearing in Lincoln.
More than 1,000 also appear in opposition to the pipeline at hearing in
October 2011: TransCanada says it would be impossible to move the pipeline out of the
November 10, 2011: State Department says the process
needs to be delayed in order to further examine proposed route through the
November 14, 2011: TransCanada decides that it is possible to change the route after all,
agrees to move the pipeline out of the Sandhills.
October 2011: TransCanada offers to put up $100 million dollar
bond if the State doesn’t call a special session.
November 2011: TransCanada officials oppose legislation requiring
them to post a bond.
November 22, 2011: Legislature passes two bills in special session: one that would allow
TC expedited review by Nebraska DEQ for their pending application. The second
bill would require all subsequent pipeline applications to be subject to a
process through the Public Service Commission.
December 2, 2011: TransCanada representative testifies before the House Energy Committee
that an expedited approval process is needed, in spite of the fact they had
just received one from the State of Nebraska.
End of December 2011: U.S. Congress attaches expedited process to payroll tax bill.
January 2012: TransCanada says they have determined a route and will make it public
January 18, 2012: President Obama denies the permit, largely because the route through Nebraska had yet to be
January 19, 2012: LB 1161 is introduced. It is a 3 page bill. It would revive the DEQ
process to determine a route and give TransCanada special eminent domain
February 16, 2012: TransCanada supports LB 1161 (in contrast to their position in October
2011 that routing legislation was unconstitutional). They are the only
supporters. Nebraska Sierra Club provides an opinion that it is unconstitutional
April 5, 2012: Between introduction and
adoption of the language that became the final version, 10 substantially
different drafts are proposed. The final draft is revealed is revealed just
before the introducer stands to deliver the opening remarks. No one has seen
the amendment before this time. New subjects on issues of major importance
usually receive a public hearing. There is no opportunity for examination or
comment from the public.
2012: Legislature approves LB 1161. Final version allows
TransCanada to use eminent domain upon approval of route by the Governor. Governor
has said he supports the pipeline even though it will go over the aquifer, in
contrast to his statement opposing the pipeline in August 2011.
To learn more about the state of play regarding
Keystone XL or to book experts, advocates and landowners, contact:
Ken Winston, Sierra Club firstname.lastname@example.org 402-212-3737
Jane Kleeb, BOLD Nebraska
email@example.com or 402-705-3622