It's not just the usual suspects who are opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,700 mile oil spill waiting to happen. A key group that is organizing against the pipeline are landowners who don't like a Canadian company, TransCanada, threatening their land and access to safe, clean water. In Nebraska, the pipeline would cross over the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies groundwater for irrigation to 30 percent of the US. That's part of the reason why Randy Thompson, a Nebraska landowner from Merrick County has been fighting TransCanada for years. Yesterday Randy wrote to Nebraska's attorney general and asked him to investigate TransCanada for alleged "deceptive and perhaps fraudulent" tactics used to bully him off his land.
As Nebraska citizens we are asking you, our State Attorney General, to launch a full and comprehensive investigation into the trade practices of TransCanada, a foreign corporation that has been seeking easements for a massive tar sands oil pipeline across our state. It is our opinion that TransCanada has used deceptive and perhaps fraudulent tactics trying to convince landowners to grant such easements to their company.
TransCanada does not have a permit from the U.S. government to build this pipeline in our country, and yet they have been aggressively pursuing easements from Nebraska landowners. They have sent letters to many landowners threatening to use eminent domain to acquire these easements if the owners would not agree to accept the terms set forth by TransCanada. These letters have caused a lot of anguish for landowners and their families who don't want to have this pipeline on their land, but don't have the resources to fight a multi-billion dollar foreign corporation. Senator Johanns and other legal authorities have expressed the opinion that TransCanada has been operating way out-of-bounds regarding their authority when claiming to possess the powers of eminent domain at this stage of the permitting process. We believe that TransCanada has used these false claims of eminent domain powers to intimidate landowners into signing unwanted easement agreements.
Last week, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, sent a letter to the president asking him to deny a permit for the project. You can find out more about Randy's fight at www.standwithrandy.com.
It remains to be seen what President Obama will do. The State department is now in its "National Interest" phase of its decision, in which it will seek to determine if the pipeline is in the national interest. It's certainly not in Randy Thompson's.