Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Expansion Right After Big Spill

Last week: The Keystone XL Pipeline experiences a major leak of 5,000 barrels onto South Dakotan land.

This week: Nebraska approves a project to extend the pipeline through its state anyway.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission approved the expansion by a 3-2 vote, explaining that the group did not let the recent spill factor into their decision. Evidently, state law prevents them from considering public safety issues or the likelihood of oil leaks when making these types of decisions.

That sure sounds like a law written directly by oil lobbyists. How else does it make any sense to forbid state officials from giving consideration to such serious issues? Ignore the negative consequences of a pipeline and of course theyíll all get approved.

Just one commissioner, Crystal Rhoades was willing to speak publicly about why she voted to reject the proposal. Rhoades said she found other reasons beyond the recent leak to vote, including:

  • environmental worries;
  • TransCanadaís decision not to consult with local Native American tribes;
  • a lack of proof that the Nebraska economy would benefit or that local workers would be hired; and
  • the fact that a lot of landowners donít realize the pipeline would run through their property.

Sounds like pretty valid reasons to reject the proposal!

TransCanada has had to compromise somewhat to get approval in Nebraska. Originally, the pipeline was plotted to go straight through the Sandhills, a vulnerable and cherished ecosystem of sand dunes covered in grass. Though TransCanada ultimately agreed to reroute the pipeline around this area, locals have pointed out that the new pathway still borders this precious space, thereby not leaving it out of harmís way.

Sending the pipeline through Nebraska is a plan thatís been over a decade in the making. TransCanada has faced more pushback from this state than others because of how much land is devoted to farming. Since spills would ruin the groundwater the agricultural industry relies upon, the pipeline poses a threat to the farmersí livelihoods.

Although Nebraska has now given its blessing on the project, there are still three things that could stop construction. First, an override by President Donald Trump, which seems highly unlikely since he pulled a 180 on Obamaís previous stance to push the project forward. Second, TransCanada deciding the project is too expensive, which may be a slight possibility since they didnít get everything they wanted from this bargain. Third, conservation groups suing due to environmental concerns.

At this point, it seems that the best bet is for one of these environmental lawsuits makes a splash in court. Still, on the chance that Trump is finally willing to throw a bone to the American people who care about our planet, why not sign this petition urging the president to reconsider his approval of this pipeline?

Photo Credit: Michael Fleshman

85 comments

Jan S
Jan Sabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim V
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Angela K
Angela Kabout a month ago

Petition already signed & shared

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Jessica C
Jessica C1 months ago

Ridculous. Thank you!!

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Angela K
Angela K2 months ago

petition signed & shared

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio2 months ago

#83,333 petition signed...

thank you, Kevin...

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I2 months ago

Very ignorant excuses for "people!"

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