Nebraska ranchers arrested in D.C. pipeline protest

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A group of farmers and ranchers from Nebraska spent some time in handcuffs Wednesday after joining the Sierra Club and others outside the White House in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.

The farmers are Bold Nebraska supporters who have partnered with Nebraska Sierra Club and Nebraska Farmers Union for a week of meetings with the US State Department and various Members of Congress to express the ongoing concerns of risks to U.S. water, soil and property rights. The week concludes with a rally on Sunday, called Forward on Climate.

Reuters reports 48 protesters asking Obama to reject Keystone XL and begin serious action on climate change were arrested and released on $100 bail. Of the 48, four are associated with Nebraska’s cattle industry: Randy Thompson, James Tarnick, Abbi Kleinschmidt, and Susan Luebbe.

Below are quotes from each:

“I am a Nebraska cattleman and landowner. I am fighting against the KXL pipeline for two very basic reasons. First of all, I feel very strongly that this pipeline represents an assault on the individual property rights of American citizens. There is something inherently wrong about the idea of American landowners being forced to subsidize the private enterprise of a foreign corporation with land that their families have earned through generations of hard work and determination. Secondly, I feel that the KXL presents a real threat to some of our nation’s most valuable natural resources, especially our rivers, streams and underground aquifers. These are priceless American assets that no amount of oil money, foreign or otherwise, could ever replace.” – Randy Thompson, cattle buyer, face of the pipeline campaign in Nebraska “Stand with Randy.”

"I started out fighting the pipeline because it was coming on my land and close to the family farm house and livestock wells.  However, through what I have learned these past 6-7 months I am against it even more because it will impact us negatively economically in the long run and there are way to many ways it can harm our environment.  Landowners have been bullied by TC as our political leaders have looked the other way.  It is time to and this is an outstanding way to rise up against big money and say 'We aren't going anywhere. Ever!'" James Tarnick, young farmer and rancher, proposed pipeline route comes within 50 feet of his house.

“I am fighting the pipeline because I believe it is my duty to stand up for Mother Earth and the health and well-being of all human beings and NOT allow a slimy, rich, foreign oil company to come in and cut through the heart of America. I cannot think of a more heartless act!! I am fortunate to live in a society where I have the right and can speak up for what I believe in. What this situation reminds of more than anything is what our ancestors did to the Native Americans. We came in and told them lies, cheated them, and moved them off of their land. I believe that TransCanada is capable of doing the same sort of thing, especially if there was a sizable tar sands spill. That company is ruthless, relentless, has an endless supply of money and only wants what is good for them. Since our politicians aren't willing to take the appropriate stand, then power to the people and I would be one of those.” – Abbi Kleinschmidt, 5th generation farmer in the route of the pipeline.

“As a 3rd generation cowgirl from the Sand Hills of Nebraska I have worked hard with others to get KXL off our ranch. I want to take this risk of arrest with many other landowners, and indigenous tribal members from Canada through the United States to end this fight. I want to make an impact in this fight for residents of Canada's tar sands region to Eleanor Fairchild's Texas property. TransCanada's project cuts right through the heart of environmental sensitive land and cultural history. I want the future generation to see what it takes to fight for something so precious that our ancestors worked so hard to build for all of us." Susan Luebbe: rancher, featured in Pipe Dreams documentary, one of the landowners in the lawsuit against the state of Nebraska on the pipeline route and eminent domain authority.

The pipeline has been waiting for approval for 4 ½ years. If approved, it would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil from northern Alberta to refineries and ports in Texas.

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Montana  |  February, 15, 2013 at 09:31 AM

I feel very strongly that we should do everything in our power to utilize the natural resources we have in North America to limit our need for rag-head oil, but this is stupid. Pipe oil all the way to Texas just so the out-dated refiners there can have the business and they can ship the resulting fuel to the two left-coasts of the U.S. I ask the question Why-Not Minot? Why not pipe the oil to North Dakota and build a modern, larger than life refinery there where they can also process the Bakkin oil? As dumb as Pres. NObraina is and all the other idiots in D.C. you would think even they could figure that out. Go Big Red ! !

Elkhart Ind  |  February, 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM

No body said our legislators had any brains. Especially Nobraina It would be to easy to do build a new refinery closer to the oil.

ohio  |  February, 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM

And then you would have to build more pipe lines thru Nebraska to carry the Disel fuel, home heating oil, gassoline, ethalenn, poropane, NGLs, LNG, natural gass, hexane... to the markets on both coasts. Be carefull for what you wish, you just may get it, and then you will be realy screwed.

W.Dan Tarpley    
N.W. Indiana  |  February, 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM

As a non resident Nebraska sand hill ranch owner I am also concerned about land rights. I agree with the statements above about this pipe line heading to Texas. "Not on my ranch" and "Not without a fight". Refine the oil and do not infringe on private property with eminent domain. Eminent domain should only be for the public good and not just good for private business. If private landowners allow a pipe line on their property than so be it, but do not force private enterprise demands on landowners unless they are willing. I am glad the protesters have enough guts to stand up, I just hope their voices are heard.

Tom Reese    
Central Valley, California  |  February, 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

As a rancher who has owned a ranch for 13 years now that both a major oil pipeline just like the Keystone XL, and three sets of high voltage power line cross through, I believe the hysteria over this pipeline is just that. The oil pipeline company has been great to work with, and eager to explain what they are doing. They patrol the pipeline with a plane checking for problems constantly. They also send a device called a ‘pig’ through the line regularly as well. The pig checks for any thin spots and from the recordings it provides, the company then sends out a crew that can dig up that exact section (Usually a hole only 20-30 feet long), weld a patch on the pipe if needed, then fill the hole and clean up the site. They have done that a few times on my ranch, and have always been excellent to work with. Pacific Gas & Electric operates the three sets of high voltage power lines which cross the ranch. A couple times a year, they may come through with ATV’s or a truck, but they patrol the lines by helicopter normally. When they have done insulator replacement on the lines, they do that with helicopters and I have let them use an acre or two a couple times for a staging area to assemble the insulators and landing zone for their helicopters. They have been as good to work with as the pipeline company. When they use the property for a landing zone, they have paid well and cleaned up the area. Both the pipeline company and PG&E have always been considerate of us and the cattle. The attitude of “Not In My Backyard” is just wrong. We need energy, both oil and electric. My experience has been that these companies value a good relationship with landowners and tenants. That makes their job a lot easier to do.

Jack Wolf    
USA  |  February, 15, 2013 at 08:13 PM

Nebraska should be proud of its sons and daughters! About 8 years ago while reading the USDA publication “Global Warming and Agriculture, I noticed that the report used an emission scenario that was much less than actual in their calculations. Then, I began to notice that same error in many other papers on the subject and soon realized the implications: understatement and scientific hedging means that climate change will occur more rapidly and sooner than expected. In addition, since these emissions are long lived, the impacts will be felt for thousands of years. At the 2012 Cabot Lecture, Dr. Kevin Anderson (link below) clearly pointed the finger at scientists and governments for not accurately reporting how bad the climate situation truly is. He also explains why we cannot meet the 2 degree C (3.8 F) target set by the world’s governments and its impacts on us today (i.e. catastrophic). His talk is timely in light of the recent report from the World Bank that found: "Even with the current mitigation pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20% likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s." This nonsense has to stop. Projects like the Keystone pipeline must not be completed and the oil sands must not be developed (to name just one). There isn’t any wiggle room left for any negotiation. Globally, we are nowhere close to meeting our mitigation pledges and long lived CO2 emissions continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. Dr. Anderson is very animated and I think you will find it enlightening: Thank you for your attention.

SD  |  February, 16, 2013 at 06:43 PM

Where are the science verified reports comparing natures emmisions such as from volcanoes, tornadoes, sun spot activities, earthquakes/tsunamis' and others, with man made pollution? Aren't we quite arrogant to believe activities of mere mankind can over rule the forces of nature? Few nations have improved their agricultural practices as science has found better ways than have the farmers and ranchers in the USA, truly the original and most dedicated environmentalists using THEIR OWN finances to improve practices. There are far too many people 'dedicated' to pie-in-the-sky' schemes using OTHER PEOPLES' money, with those schemes often times enriching those same 'schemers'! May our USA producers of beneficial food and fiber continue the work they have begun, providing for so many people using the cheapest fuels which have brought this nation the ability to feed so many people across the world, and made our nations the great success it HAS been, with the help of God!

alberta  |  February, 17, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Here,here Tom Well said. I have first hand experience both as a landowner who has been treated very well by oil and gas companies and as a employee for 20 years. As an operator, pipeline breaks were far and few between. As technology improves, the chances have been reduced even further and detection abilities are tremendous. I was involved with one small break that we jumped all over . It was fixed and cleaned up in a few days with no damage done. I operated in remote areas near 70 miles from the oilsand areas,there could not be a better place in the world for this to be at as the land up there is of zero value for anything else. Swamp and muskeg with a handful of scrub trees. In my opinion, as usual, the people who object the loudest have the least experience. For the record I run 400 plus cows and background 1200 so I am a cowman

February, 21, 2013 at 09:20 AM

Ask the folks in Kansas City who barely escaped death at J.J.'s restaurant about the safety of natural gas. People who enjoy a profit from stealing the limited resources of the earth from our great-grandchildren are easy to spot. Profiteers always want to put the most visibly destructive stuff in someone else's backyard and deposit the dividends in their own bank accounts. Profiteer like to ignore the fact that everything people do has a consequence. Why not invest in solar panels on our own land? Why not put up our very own wind turbines? Is it because that means we have to do the work and make the investments and take the risks ourselves? The corporate powers that really rule our nation are exploiting and using up the gift of God's earth at a faster rate than any civilization in the history of the earth. Yes, the activities of people do have a profound effect on climate. 10,000 years ago Egypt was green and forested, as was Israel. We have been making deserts out of gardens since long before Egyptian history began, long before the Israelites had to leave their wasted and overgrazed pastures to find a new promised land, because we haven't been able to see the big picture. Now we have the power to see the long-term effects of heedless farming and ranching, but our generation has been too selfish and greedy to do anything about it. Can Americans learn nothing from history? We can apparently see no farther than our own generation's memory. As the earth burns and the droughts grow longer and more severe here in this extremely young country, perhaps this generation will re-learn the lessons our great-grandparents had to learn the hard way during the Dust Bowl.

December, 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

So, W.E., What you are saying is that if the the Ancient Egyptians wouldn't have had advanced alien technology to check their livestock, and wouldn't have been driving their SUV's around their green forests, we wouldn't be in the situation we are in today? Just checking. . . It seems to me that if there was climate change back then, it should have been attributed to natural phenomena, not man made.


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