Please put aside your college football loyalties for one minute and give the University of Nebraska its due for standing up to TransCanada, the corporation that is trying to build the 1,700-mile long Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. Today the university's athletic department announced that it is has ended its sponsorship agreement with TransCanada after several people justifiably complained about the pipeline corporation's advertising in the stadium.
If you don't know about Nebraska football, it's something akin to a secular religion in the Cornhusker state. Former coach Tom Osborne--he's sort of the Pope of Husker football--said that the program doesn't want to engage in politics, which is why they pulled the sponsorship.
UPDATE: News is coming in that the university may have been responding to pressure from concerned citizens who were planning to stage a protest at an upcoming Cornhusker football game.
The Omaha World Herald Tribune is reporting that BOLD Nebraska was planning to hand out foam fingers that read "No Oil in Our Soil" and "Stop the TransCanada Pipeline." This is genius campaigning and shows how people can triumph over profit!
Osborne joins other Nebraska luminaries in taking action against TransCanada. Last week, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman sent a letter to the president asking him to deny the permit for the project. Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns has also expressed concern.
Why are they so concerned?
In Nebraska, the pipeline would cross over the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies groundwater for irrigation to 30 percent of the US. That's why a group of strange bedfellows--from ranchers, to farmers, to tea partiers to greens--have joined together to Stop the Pipeline.
TransCanada is trying to push back, of course. Last week we learned that it is resorting to push polling so it can have its way. If you're unfamiliar with the technique, it involves automated phone calls that trick unsuspecting people into supporting a cause--like, for instance, an oil pipeline that would go right through your supply of fresh water, which is what the Keystone XL would do to Nebraskans.
But I'm confident that no Nebraskan is going to fall for TransCanada's tricks. BOLD Nebraska has been an inspirational leader in organizing to stop the pipeline and they've prepared Nebraskans for the misinformation that's going to continue to come their way. One thing is for sure, on Saturday's this fall they won't be seeing any more propaganda from TransCanada as they cheer on their Huskers.