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Nebraska Gov. Heineman to the Left of Obama Administration on Keystone Pipeline

After three years of cumbersome red tape, environmental impact studies, and endless litigation, the Canadian Keystone KL Pipeline extension project is close to obtaining final approval from the State Department.  This $7 billion pipeline project, when completed, would transport over 700,000 barrels of oil per day from the Canadian tar sands in northeast Alberta to the hungry oil refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.  This project, along with current imports, would deliver 10% of our energy needs from our most friendly ally, by using the safest, most efficient means of transportation; a pipeline.

Due to the international scope of this project, the State Department was required to sign off on its final approval.  Despite the issuance of two favorable impact studies from the State Department, the EPA had refused to issue the requisite permits for this 1,800-mile pipeline – an endeavor that would create close to 120,000 primary and secondary jobs and generate $5.2 billion in property tax revenue for Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Finally, amidst growing pressure from House Republicans, and the threat from TransCanada Corp. to take their business to – you guessed it – China, the administration appeared to be backing down.  Last Friday, the State Department published their revised environmental impact study to satisfy the EPA’s new demands for even more scrutiny.  The report concluded once again that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on local environmental resources.  They also astutely observed that “if the proposed Project is not implemented, Canadian producers would seek alternative transportation systems to move oil to markets other than the U.S.”  Even ultra-greenie Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared to support the project, noting that “it’s certainly true that having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil,”  and that the technology for oil sand extraction is “improving dramatically.” [video here]

Now, as the public weighs in during the final 90 days prior to the project’s approval, environmental groups and Hollywood figures are having a meltdown.  Sadly, it appears that Republican Governor Dave Heineman and several other Nebraska GOPers are throwing in with them.

Yesterday, the Nebraska Republican penned a letter to the President and Secretary of State requesting that they deny the permit for the pipeline.  While emphasizing that he supports the underlying premise of the pipeline, Heineman stated that he objects to the current route of the pipeline for fear that an oil spill would affect that Ogallala Aquifer – an underground water table in western Nebraska.  Senator Mike Johanns and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry joined Heineman in his opposition to the permit.

While Heineman’s concern sounds rationale on the surface, in reality, it is baseless.  Unlike oil tankers, pipelines are much safer, and in the rare event of a spill, the affected area is measured in tens of feet; not thousands.  Much like the embellished concerns of water pollution from shale fracking, the complaints against the pipeline are unfounded and nothing more than radical left-wing talking points.  That’s why even the State Department and the EPA are not concerned about a potential leak from the pipeline into the water table.  It is also why every other Governor, including Montana’s Democrat Gov. Brian Schweitzer, approves of the project, despite the vast water tables in their states that are near the pipeline. The only legitimate threat to the water supply comes from the ethanol production that is so blithely promoted by Nebraska’s Republicans, without any regard for the Ogallala Aquifer.

TransCanada has already agreed to over 50  State Department conditions that preclude the fears of environmentalists.  If we followed every faux claim of energy pollution, we would never be able to produce or transport energy anywhere, and we would be living without electricity.  Despite Heineman’s rhetoric, his efforts, if successful, would completely scuttle the pipeline.

Anyone with an IQ superior to that of the Hollywood sluts and unwashed hippies intuitively understands that oil is still, for better or worse, the lifeblood of our economy. There is no better place to import our oil than from Canada, and there is no better means of importing it than through a pipeline. Liberal destruction of oil productivity is already threatening the viability of the Alaska Pipeline. Radical environmentalists, along with anti-capitalists are now seeking to destroy jobs, reduce income, and raise the cost of living on everyone, by blocking a pipeline project that has withstood the most rigorous environmental red tape. Do Republicans really need to throw in with such an unsavory crowd?

When the EPA, State Department, and Steven Chu are ready to abandon their phony arguments against the pipeline, it is a real indication that the opposition is out of gas. Yet, Dave Heineman and his compatriots are spewing the carbon-emitting fallacies of Hollywood actresses and Al Gore, to the detriment of the American people.

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