US Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse discusses climate change, Keystone XL pipeline

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March 20th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline gathered in Omaha Wednesday to talk sustainable alternatives with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Nebraska attorney Dave Domina.

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Dan Kluthe is a grain farmer and hog producer in Dodge, Neb. He has developed an anaerobic digester that breaks down animal waste into methane gas.

He said his “little hog operation” can supply 53 homes with power for a year.

“When we can take livestock waste like hog manure and make it friendly that’s economic development,” Kluthe said. “All livestock enterprise systems can be energy efficient and make their own electricity, replace their own diesel, propane…all from a byproduct manure hog waste.”

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Attorney Dave Domina addresses the crowd Wednesday evening. (Photo Courtesy KVNO News)

Graham Christensen, president of Burke County Wind Energy, is a fifth generation farmer who has turned to wind and solar energy. The cooperative of 22 farm families, has used the last five years developing a small, locally owned wind farm in Burke County.

Wind would be generated just under 50 percent of the time on small sub transmission lines that operate around the entire Burke County area.

“Not only are we doing the right thing environmentally, we’re also bringing new revenue to a rural area that desperately needs it,” Christensen said. “We have an opportunity to be able to produce energy and do things in a way that no other place in the country has.  Every single one of you can do your part to become more energy independent so we no longer have to rely on foreign multinational pipeline companies to fuel our energy sources in this state and country.”

The group was joined by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who recently pulled an all-nighter on the Congress floor to call attention to climate change.

Sen. Whitehouse said he believes the country is at the tipping point when it comes to climate change politically. He encouraged the room full of pipeline opponents to be optimistic, confident and relentless in their pursuit of challenging the pipeline.

“An absolutely critical part of that fight to protect our climate and to battle against carbon pollution and the polluters that are not only compromising our atmosphere and oceans, they are also compromising our American democracy. Their money is just as dirty as their oil, and we have got to clean this up,” Whitehouse said.

Attorney Dave Domina has investigated eminent domain issues on behalf of Nebraska landowners. Domina said while some things are worthy of politicizing, others are clearly off of the table.

“Those things that are not appropriate to politicize are fundamental needs that each of has like water and food and land and the right to own it and enjoy it and to be free from intimidation over its use,” Domina said.

Keystone XL Pipeline supporters and opponents are waiting for President Obama to make a decision about the project. Currently, TransCanada has no legal land right in Nebraska.

 

 

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