Nebraskans protest Keystone XL pipeline in Washington, DC

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April 25th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Nebraskans have taken over the Nation’s capital to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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The Cowboy and Indian Alliance, which is made up of ranchers, farmers and tribal leaders, have ascended on the National Mall in order to garner President Obama’s attention to the potential hazards of building the pipeline.

Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, said the recent delay in the approval of the pipeline by the State Department is a huge victory for Nebraskans.

“It essentially validates that the Nebraska route is a very clear state right issue,” Kleeb said. “Our state passed an illegal bill, which the judge agreed with us on. Gov. Heinemen, unfortunately, is not siding with state rights or property rights and he thinks that decision should be overturned. They are challenging us in the Supreme Court.”

Kleeb is confident that they will be successful again. If so, TransCanada will have to apply through the Public Service Commission to secure a permit for their route in Nebraska. The Public Service Commission could then change the route and the State Department would have to do a revised environmental review.

Farmers and ranchers from Nebraska and Texas at the tipi camp on the National Mall during the Reject + Protect event in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Hefflinger / Bold Nebraska)

Farmers and ranchers from Nebraska and Texas at the tipi camp on the National Mall during the Reject + Protect event in Washington, D.C.
(Photo by Mark Hefflinger / Bold Nebraska)

Mike Blocher is a rancher in Oakdale, Neb. The proposed Keystone route would run through his property. He said he couldn’t rest peacefully at night knowing that “toxic sludge” is moving through land near his home and over his water well.

“We don’t want to drink water with oil in it and horses, I know, wouldn’t want to have anything to do with water with oil in it. If they leak it’s going to have a devastating effect on our livelihoods and our lives,” Blocher said.

Shane Redhawk traveled from the Rosebud Indian Reservation located in south central South Dakota to Washington in order to enlighten the public about the possible ills of the pipeline. He said protecting the water is very important to the Lakota tribe. He describes it as the tribes first medicine.

“The ultimate goal is for the pipeline to be rejected and hopefully to encourage enough people that when such devastating projects are undertaken like allowing foreign corporations to use eminent domain for the national interest of the United States, that when those cards are pulled again people are educated enough not to be fooled,” Redhawk said.

The Alliance will continue protesting through Sunday. The group plans to donate a tipi in President Obama’s honor to the National Museum of the American Indian and hold a prayer in front of Sec. of State John Kerry’s home.

 

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