State Sen. Deb Fischer — a Republican contender for the U.S. Senate — expressed support for TransCanada’s controversial oil pipeline during a televised meeting with local officials in North Platte.
Fischer said during the meeting that she would tell people concerned about the pipeline running through the sandhills, “We build roads in the sandhills… they recover. It’s how you manage it.”
A campaign spokesman told me today Fischer supports building the Keystone XL pipeline, but hasn’t committed to the currently proposed route that goes over the Ogallala Aquifer.
Later today, Sen. Fischer released the following statement on the pipeline:
As I have stated consistently over the past three years, I share many of the concerns expressed by Nebraskans across the state regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. For that reason I have worked with constituents and landowners to find answers to their questions.
At this point I have received Senator Dubas’s proposed legislation and am thoroughly reviewing that bill. I have received additional communication from Senator Dubas that she is also researching questions about her proposed bill.
Today, TransCanada sent a letter to Speaker Mike Flood that offers additional safety measures for the currently proposed route. I will thoroughly review that proposal before making further comment.
New York Times does a nice job exploring the issue of whether TransCanada can legally “take” land in the United States even though it’s a foreign company and hasn’t yet gotten a permit for its oil pipeline from the State Department.
Randy Thompson — of “Stand with Randy” fame — is featured in the photo and lead of the New York Times story, because he’s one of many individuals fighting TransCanada’s use of eminent domain to take their land.
Yes, it’s quite legal for a company — even a foreign company — to come to your house one day and tell you they’re going to take some of your land to build an oil pipeline. Or an oil well, for that matter.
Don’t believe it? The Times explains the issue here.
A reader alerted me to reports that a contractor to TransCanada is running the so-called State Department hearings on the proposed 2,000-mile pipeline that would ship Canadian tar sand oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Times, we already know the TransCanada consultant Cardno Entrix helped the State Department do two environmental impact statements on the controversial pipeline. No surprise, then, that the State Department concluded the pipeline would have minimal environmental impact as long as it’s done according to regulations.
I’ve spent much of this month working on an oil story that makes it clear to me that all the regulations in the world don’t matter if they are not followed and enforced. Often, in oil country, they are not.
I’m not seeing this reported in the mainstream press — other than by one South Dakota radio station — but on pro-environment web sites Thinkprogress.org and truthout.org (same story), but Bold Nebraska spokeswoman Jane Kleeb says they are right, the hearings were run by Cardno Entrix, and were, in her view, “a mess.” Here’s why, in her words:
From the beginning, all of our groups asked the State Dept to hold
meetings in our communities to comment on the Final Environmental
Originally they were not going to hold a round of meetings on the
Once they announced them, our groups weighed in on where they should
be held (originally State was only going to hold one in Lincoln).
Our next request and suggestion was to have the meetings organized
very clealry so as many people could comment as possible.
The national groups expressed various options, things like have people
register ahead of time so they know their speaking slot time AND so
the State Dept knew how long they needed to meetings.
In Nebraska, we could have easily had 3 days of hearings versus other
states had 2 hours left in their meetings where they just then had
In Lincoln, you had union folks from out of state pushing our folks
and then when our side pushed back the union folks called out for the
In Lincoln and in Atkinson you had union folks signing in for people
like Mike Friend, head of AFP so he did not have to wait in line, so
those folks would wait in line, sign in TransCanada/Union/Allied Group
leaders and then just give them their number tag (people who signed in
to speak were then assign a sticker with a number). We knew he did
this in Lincoln but actually caught him red-handed in Atkinson which
he was not too happy about.
This was told to us by the State Dept that it would NOT be allowed.
Because we wanted to sign in for some ranchers who had morning chores,
we were told we could not that the person who was speaking had to sign
John did talk with the union folks in Atkinson and they did agree to
have each side have equal time for the first 50 speakers. I was not
there for that decision, but I respect John and knew because the way
they had the lines set up outside in Atkinson that maybe that was the
safest way to do it so people didnt push eachother.
But the big problem is Entrix did not think through what happens when
we hit 50, how will the now divided line of pro vs con get signed
in…so then that became a mess to try and “merge” the lines after we
demanded they did so.
When we saw all this happening we told the State Dept to stop signing
people in and asked that they make some corrections, like have folks
show their id. State Dept staff said Entrix is doing the meeting,
Entrix staff said the local police chnaged the sign in process…so as
with many aspects of this issue finger pointing happened while people
were trying to sign in with the process that was outlined by the State
The bottom line…
The rules were “first come, first serve” and you had to sign yourself
We followed those rules, the other folks did not.
We had 80% of the crowd but only 50% of the speaking slots because of
the way they signed people in at both meetings.
The State Dept will say “we stayed late to hear everyone” but the
reality is so many folks wanted to speak and when they got there and
saw they would be #250 or so in Lincoln and #180 or so in Atkinson
they figured there was no way they would be called up and some left or
some just watched then.
Got a call last night from a pollster wanting my opinion on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
After a short description of all the great things the pipeline would do for our little ol’ state — like generate $150 million in property taxes and untold jobs — the computer-woman asked whether I:
• Support building the pipeline
• Do not support building the pipeline
• Am undecided
It should be noted, building the pipeline in a different location was not an option.
The poll was paid for by Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence, which apparently is located in Boys Town.
It can all be confusing. This is the best story I’ve read summarizing the whole debate. You should read it, too.