The final tally at the State Department hearing showed one thing loud and clear, folks from Nebraska and all over our great country want President Obama to deny the Keystone XL permit.
• Over 1,000 total attended the hearing.
• The crowd was easily 80% against the risky export pipeline.
• Pro-Pipeline: 26 total testified with 24 having direct ties to TransCanada, LIUNA, Chamber of Commerce or the oil industry .
• Anti-Pipeline: over 200 speakers from across the country including landowners, moms, young people, retired grandparents, small business owners, teachers, priests, tribal leaders, farmers and ranchers.
The testimonies ranged from off-the-cuff comments from young ranchers like Paul who simply said, “We need good jobs building clean energy. That way labor wins, the climate wins and our futures win.” Or Bob who is an organic farmer and conservative Republican. He explained his certification would be meaningless, as would the years of work to make his operation organic, once a spill happens on his land or water.
Others spent weeks developing their written testimony and pointed out major flaws, like the conflict of interest or the lack of basic science in the State Department’s draft report.
Basic science is what we have asked our government from the US State Department, to the Nebraska DEQ and to just about every elected official to conduct.
Basic science on the risks of a worst-case scenario spill and what the impacts would be on our water from the Ogallala Aquifer, family wells, the Verdigree Watershed or the Platte and Niobrara rivers.
We still, despite the picture of over 15,000 pages of State Department documents Rep. Lee Terry has on his Facebook page, do not have from the State Department a basic risk analysis on our water supply. What we have is an assessment of a 40,000 gallon spill in the Aquifer.
TransCanada admits their state of the art sensors cannot detect a leak of about 1-2% flow rate. That means 697,000 gallons could leak a day without TransCanada’s safest pipeline every built sounding an alarm. So giving us a study of a 47,000 gallon spill is not science.
We have requested this before, and on Monday with our formal submission to the State Department as part of the 1 million comment push, we will request again the following:
-a spill risk analysis using what TransCanada has listed in their own Emergency Response Plan, a spill of 32,265 barrels in our water supplies including the Aquifer, family wells, the Verdigree Watershed and the Platte and Niobrara rivers and in our Sandhills and sandy soils.
-an economic risk study on what a spill would do to a family farm operations. If Exxon is buying homes because of the pollution and contamination in Arkansas—and the same thing happened after the Enbridge tarsands pipeline spill—what happens to a family ranch that has been in folks hands since the 1800s? What price tag do you put on that ranch and generations of sweat that made that land profitable?
-a landowner rights risk study that shows how giving eminent domain powers to a foreign company is certainly a slippery slope. One day its Canada and the next it could be Saudi Arabia. Right now, the way TransCanada’s contract reads they can turn right around and sell the land easement to a different company—could be China, Russia or whoever the highest bidder happens to be.
Rep. Lee Terry and Gov. Heineman often tell us in Nebraska “its time to build” we say to them and to Pres. Obama, it's time to show up.
Not a single damn politician had the courage to show up in Grand Island. The numerous form letters and resolutions passed by elected officials mean nothing if you do not have the courage to stand in front of the folks who would live with this risky pipeline and justify your decision to side with a foreign corporation, with an awful safety record, who is seizing American land with eminent domain.
November 4, 2014 will certainly be a day Pipeline Fighters from across our country show up strong to show politicians our courage to run for office and to vote out candidates who care more about the next check from Big Oil than they care about our kids' futures.
Every politician and President Obama have an open invite to come eat some tarsands-free beef, visit the Sandhills where this pipeline still crosses and see where our water—the backbone of our economy and our public health—is at risk all for an foreign export pipeline.
We stood together this week to stop the pipeline.
We are redneck republicans, soccer moms, pie making grandmoms, small business owners, young people, progressive democrats, rugged ranchers and feisty farmers.
We are pipeline fighters and we are here to ask for basic science, simple economics and our fundamental property rights to be protected.
There is no energy independence in this pipeline. Only risks.
This is our home, not TransCanadas, Not Saudi Arabias, not Chinas.
We will not let you threaten our homes and we won’t let you pollute our water with your risky tarsands pipeline.
Not in our land, not in our water, not in our country.
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Submit a comment as part of the 1 million push to stop the pipeline.