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Sun May 18, 2014, 08:24 AM

interesting piece on Nebraska and the XL pipeline

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/magazine/jane-kleeb-vs-the-keystone-pipeline.html?ref=magazine&_r=0
The big moral (a quote from organizer Jane Kleeb): “One thing the climate organizations don’t get is that the scientific numbers don’t move people,” she said. “People here care about their neighbors.. ."

More even than the environmental travesty of the XL Pipeline, what I hate most of all is the arrogance of the TransCanada folks. Where I live, TransCanada runs print ads, TV ads, 24/7. .just unrelenting. I hate it. But the arrogance, and shameless dishonesty of TransCanada re property rights for farmers is worst of all.


A few excerpts:

. . .what has kept the pipeline out of the ground so far, more than anything, has been Kleeb’s ability to convince mostly­ conservative farmers and ranchers that they are the ones being asked to bear all the risk of Canada’s energy expansion. If something goes wrong, she says, they’re the ones who are going to suffer. Kleeb didn’t need to persuade all of the people in the room to be angry — many of the state’s landowners are plenty wary of what they see as the pipeline’s risks — but she has organized them to take on Trans­Canada and more or less their state’s entire political power structure. Days earlier, thanks to her efforts, a state district court had thrown the construction into limbo. . . a friend of Kleeb’s at the National Wildlife Federation told her about a State Department hearing on the Keystone XL in York County. . Trans­Canada’s proposed line would cross the route of the huge annual migration of sandhill cranes, and federation organizers were concerned about how a spill would affect the birds. They hoped Kleeb might attend the meeting with them and join forces in opposing the plan.

Kleeb wanted to steer clear of the issue. Bold Nebraska had yet to find its feet, and she was looking for a cause to unite progressives with Nebraska’s growing independent population. Environmental campaigns had never resonated with her, and despite farmers’ appreciation for their land, she knew that conservatives in Nebraska were not sympathetic to what they saw as a lefty cause. . .Her friend pushed her, though — hadn’t her husband’s ancestors homesteaded on the edge of the Sandhills? — and in the end, Kleeb showed up at the York Community Center to find the room packed with farmers who opposed the pipeline. One by one, they took the stand to describe how they had been bullied by Trans­Canada’s land agents and to talk about their concerns for their land and, especially, their water supply. , , The pipeline’s route would pass through the Sandhills in north-central Nebraska and over the Ogallala Aquifer, the lifeblood of Great Plains agriculture. In much of the region, the water table is at or near the surface. At the time of the meeting, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster was still underway, devastating fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and leaving Nebraska farmers worried about a spill in their own backyards. . . Kleeb stood in the back, stunned. She had never thought of the potential for a large-scale environmental disaster in the middle of Nebraska. All of the press material she’d been given, all of the briefings from environmental groups — none of it had left much of an impression. But these people did. “All I could think about in that room was how they reminded me of Scott’s family, the folks I fell in love with,” she said. “Farmers and ranchers don’t think politically. I felt like I had to help.”

. . Whatever its legal rights, Trans­Canada badly misread popular sentiment in Nebraska. The state is Republican but deeply independent; it was the home of William Jennings Bryan and the late-1800s populist movement. Rather than rallying behind the idea of American independence from Middle Eastern oil, Nebraskans saw a foreign company coming into their state and asserting rights to land that had been in their families for generations. “The attitude when doing business here is, Treat me fairly, tell me the truth, I’ll work with you,” said David Domina. . But Trans­Canada came in with “corporate weaponry blazing,” Domina said. He claimed that agents lied to his clients about whether their neighbors had signed easement agreements and about how little money they would get if they didn’t.. . When the agents contacted Randy Thompson about his family’s land in Merrick County, Thompson was confused at first, and then angry. “They came out here with this great sense of entitlement,” Thompson told me, “and we were just supposed to get out of the road. They said all the neighbors had signed, and if we were smart, we’d sign now — or we’d get a lot less money. These guys just treat you like bugs they can squash.”
. . .
In late April, Kleeb held rallies on the National Mall with a group referred to as the “new C.I.A.” — the Cowboy and Indian Alliance — made up of ranchers from along the pipeline’s route and Sioux from South Dakota tribes. Kleeb stood onstage, flanked by Sioux elders waving tribal flags. She urged people to write to Obama to tell him to deny the pipeline for good. “We can’t beat Trans­Canada with money,” she said. “We don’t have millions to spend. But we have you.” Standing in the audience, I was struck by how insular the group seemed, hardened by a shared struggle. They talked with great feeling about what the fight against Trans­Canada had given them: a new community, new friends, a new purpose. When I was in Nebraska, I asked Kleeb what the point was of actions like the jack-o’-lantern carvings and the barn raising. She laughed. Part of it was for the cameras, she said, but it went deeper. “You’re asking people to be involved. They love that — it’s part of our human nature. People want to be asked to do something bigger than themselves.”

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply interesting piece on Nebraska and the XL pipeline (Original post)
MBS May 2014 OP
voteearlyvoteoften May 2014 #1
MBS May 2014 #2
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #3
MBS May 2014 #6
northoftheborder May 2014 #4
Leme May 2014 #5
Doctor_J May 2014 #7
MBS May 2014 #8

Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:37 AM

1. Calling all community organizers...

Read this yesterday, affirms my belief that you Can make a difference. Highly recommend.

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Response to voteearlyvoteoften (Reply #1)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:47 AM

2. EXACTLY. n/t.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:54 AM

3. There was a story about this in the Financial Times saying,

believe it or not, much the same thing: Keystone XL: The pipeline sabotaged by unusual arrogance This was written by John Dizard, who besides being a very sharp observer of all things financial, is Canadian as well.

Behind a paywall, so to summarize: Trans Canada came in with a hugely arrogant attitude, and its first route was just a straight line through Nebraska, which went right through the Sand Hills and its aquifer. When the farmers protested, they moved it by just a little bit, not enough to take it away from the aquifer. Then they rammed through a law that allowed the governor to go around the state constitution, which gave the Public Service Commission control over regulation of pipelines, to make a special exception for the Keystone XL.
Nebraska's state court found this unconstitutional, unsurprisingly. The upshot is that the pipeline will now be delayed for many years unless they can get that judgment overturned, which is highly unlikely. So, regardless of what Obama does, Trans Canada is bluffing re Presidential approval of the pipeline. Even if Obama says yes today, Nebraska would still stand in the way, and at this point, given the opposition their own arrogance has conjured up, I doubt a single inch will ever go through that state. Which means for all practical purposes it's dead.

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #3)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:04 AM

6. One of the things I like best about this story

is that it upends the usual partisan (and partisan journalistic) alignments. Yes, there are Republicans who care what happen to the environment, and will act on their concerns, if you approach the issue the right way, that speaks to their concerns. (Unfortunately, there are also plenty of Democrats who support XL and Big Oil; but that's another rant).

There used to be bipartisan support for environmental issues and conservation; for the sake of our country, I hope we can someday recapture that consensus. (The thing I resent Reagan and Reaganism for, above all, is the way it politicized conservation and environmental issues, starting with his governorship in CA in the 1960's).

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:27 AM

4. Yay Nebraska, thank you for your fortitude.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 10:28 AM

5. just wondering

 

I heard/read somewhere that this pipeline idea is sort of out dated now in some respects. Due to fracking we now have a lot of energy resources ? Whether one likes fracking or not.
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It seems this would be a pipeline to increase energy exports.
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And people often seem to forget that the oil and gas removed from the ground does not belong to the government, or the people at large. The only oil and gas that our country or Canada owns is the stuff not yet sold to a private entity.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:05 PM

7. Bravo for their perseverance. It's a shame they can't look outside of their own back yard

 

Hey, Huskers. The globals are trashing the entire country, not just your little piece of it. Stop listening to Hate Radio and Fox "News" for awhile, and maybe we can actually get back to being a nation of, by, and for the people.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #7)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:15 PM

8. But it's a promising start. Sometimes awakening to the doings in your backyard

is what you need to start connecting the dots.

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