05/04/2012 01:39 pm ET Updated Jul 04, 2012

New Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Permit Rejected by Nebraska Residents

TransCanada’s latest Keystone XL tar sands pipeline plan filed with the U.S. State Department has done nothing to quell local Nebraska opposition to the controversial project to pipe tar sands oil all the way to the Gulf for export. Nebraska residents say the massive pipeline plan still jeopardizes the world’s largest fresh drinking water source, the Ogallala Aquifer, risking the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across country’s breadbasket. Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, a local grassroots group of farmers, ranchers and concerned citizens, immediately blasted the plan and said they will continue to fight it.

“The fundamental facts remain, Americans are being asked to put clean water at risk and Nebraskans are being asked to give up their property rights for an extreme form of energy that will add nothing to our energy security. We are subsidizing this extreme form of energy to boot with over 1 billion of our tax payer dollars used to retrofit a Saudi-owned refinery for their tar sands headed straight to the export market.”

Watch Jane Kleeb explain why Nebraskans are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline, part of an upcoming NRDC series of videos, Voices Against Tar Sands, focusing on local opposition to tar sands mining and pipeline projects.  


Last January, President Obama rejected TransCanada’s 1,700 mile pipeline proposal to ship over 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil daily to Gulf refineries after House Republicans tried to short-cut the environmental review process. Now with TransCanada’s latest plan, the State Department will reset the wheels of a lengthy review process to determine the project’s environmental risks and whether it meets sufficient criteria to be in the national interest. NRDC’s Anthony Swift blogs that both are clear-cut reasons to reject the pipeline outright; 

A rigorous review of Keystone XL will show that this tar sands pipeline is not in the U.S. national interest. It is not a pipeline to the United States but a pipeline through it, putting America’s heartland, rivers and aquifers at risk so tar sands producers can sell their product to international buyers at higher prices. While that may be in the interests of tar sands producers and their financial backers, it’s not in the interest of the American public.

The Keystone XL pipeline has become a red-hot lightning rod for politicians pushing Big Oil’s misinformation campaign of hugely inflated jobs numbers and their specious arguments about national security. The truth is this is about oil industry profits and political gamesmanship, pure and simple.

That was clearly on display this week when House Republicans attached a provision to approve the Keystone XL project to their Surface Transportation extension bill, a blatant political ploy to deep-six bipartisan efforts to pass a  national transportation program that would provide the nation with desperately-needed construction jobs. As NRDC’s Susan Casey-Lefkowitz points out in her recent blog, politicians are more interested in scoring political points during an election year than solving tough economic problems and putting Americans back to work.

The Keystone XL pipeline threatens American homes, farms, and ranches with tar sands oil spills and the extreme weather effects of worsening climate change. It raises oil prices. It derails continued growth in clean energy jobs. It funnels money to foreign oil corporations. Clean transportation solutions and fuel efficiency -- not another tar sands pipeline -- is the only way to protect America’s economy, energy security, health, and environment. Congress should pass the bi-partisan Senate transportation bill and stop playing politics with our transportation future. 

So who wins with the Keystone XL tar sands project? Not the people whose land has been taken to build a dangerous pipeline they don’t want, land that would put Americans at risk yet would give them no benefits in the end. If you want to really find out who wins with this tar sands pipeline boondoggle, just follow the money to the Big Oil lobbyists and the politicians they fund in Washington. They're the ones who will be laughing all the way to the bank if this pipeline is built, while the rest of us bear the risk and the consequences of one of the most destructive projects on earth.