By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
Updated 7:22 p.m. Wednesday
LINCOLN – Busloads of Nebraskans – 125 of them in total – headed to Washington, D.C., Tuesday for a rally against the Keystone XL oil pipeline proposed to cross the nation. And four of those Nebraskans planed to get arrested by protesting in front of the White House on Wednesday.
By the day of the day, several Nebraskans succeeded in getting arrested, including Randy Thompson, the Republican cattle buyer-turned-activist, and actress Darryl Hannah and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
A Nebraska contingent planned to take their case to the U.S. State Department while in Washington, where they will ask for a new review of the pipeline route through Nebraska – including its crossing of the Ponca Trail of Tears in five places. The proposed pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas oil refineries — but its construction has been held up for several years. Nebraska has been a hotbed of opposition, even as pro-business and labor groups have pushed for approval of the pipeline to create jobs and make America more energy independent.
Thompson said Tuesday he’s tired of some portraying Keystone XL opponents as foaming-at-the-mouth fanatics.
“It’s not that type of people,” he said during a press conference. “We’re just ordinary citizens coming from all walks of life.”
He said the opposition includes Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives – all of them just “concerned citizens.” Thompson considers the pipeline an assault on Americans’ individual property rights.
“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,” Thompson said. He also believes the pipeline threatens America’s most valuable natural resources — particularly rivers, streams and underground aquifers.
“These are priceless American assets that no amount of oil money, foreign or otherwise, could ever replace,” he said.
Bold Nebraska, a grassroots group that organized opposition to the pipeline in Nebraska, is party to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law dictating Nebraska’s review of the revised pipeline route. If the State Department approves the federal permit for the project, Bold Nebraska head Jane Kleeb said her group will consider seeking an injunction.
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