I’m confident that I know how my friends would respond to that question, and I think many other private landowners in the United States would concur with a resounding NO.
Folks that simple question is one of my concerns about the Keystone Pipeline.
Everybody knows that President Barack Obama wielded his veto power on the “Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.” His message to the Senate was brief and concise, 114 words including introduction and signature.
The final sentence is direct:
“And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”
Edward Morrissey of the Fiscal Times titled his analysis, “Keystone XL Veto Demonstrates Obama’s Extremism – And Hypocrisy”
House Speaker John Boehner responded to the veto:
“The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment,”
The Speaker asserts:
“The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers,” Boehner said. “He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first.”
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees with Speaker Boehner.
He concludes his reaction statement with:
“Even though the President has yielded to powerful special interests, this veto doesn’t end the debate. Americans should know that the new Congress won’t stop pursuing good ideas, including this one.”
Feedback from the Louisiana delegation back home has been similar:
- “Vetoing this legislation is just sheer political spite,” U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said in a statement. “President Obama has proven that he puts his political agenda ahead of bipartisan compromise, job creation, and energy independence.”
- House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Jefferson, said. “The American people deserve better than this from the president, who bowed to the demands of a small group of environmental extremists rather than standing with hard-working taxpayers.”
- Rep. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, said: “The American people want this project built. The president is the only obstacle remaining in the way of making this project’s completion a reality.”
- US Senator Bill Cassidy who defeated Mary Landrieu during the mid-year elections stated: “The president’s Keystone XL Pipeline veto shows his allegiance to his supporters, not the American people. He vetoed more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs that the American people want created. He ignored the 60 percent of Americans who want the pipeline built. Keystone could save workers’ lives because transporting oil by pipeline means fewer accidents and spills. It is supported by Republicans and Democrats. It’s a jobs bill the president has no reason to ignore. Louisiana families want Keystone built. It’s a jobs bill. It’s a workers’ safety bill. It’s an American bill.”
Louisiana Governor and wannabe Presidential candidate Bobby Jindal remarked:
“The President made it official today – he’s a pawn of the radical left. Besides kowtowing to his political base, there is no logical reason not to build the Keystone Pipeline right now. This should not be a partisan issue. The President’s own administration said building it wouldn’t cause significant environmental harm.
“The President is shirking his responsibility to deliver good paying jobs to American workers. They are ready to work; they just need the Obama administration to get out of the way. The President needs to do what’s best for America, not what’s best for fringe environmentalists.”
“Congress should override the President’s veto and pass the Keystone Pipeline once and for all.”
Let us leave out the concerns or influence of environmentalists.
Let’s not debate safety records and comparisons of transporting oil by rail, tanker, pipeline, or any other method.
I think we can agree that all have strengths and weakness depending on the amount moved. When operated correctly all are relatively safe and efficient, but as with anything else accidents can happen and we’re fortunate that accidents are limited as safety measures continually improve.
Let’s even leave out the conflicting figures on how many temporary and permanent jobs this pipeline would create.
We can even leave out another viable debate on the concept of state’s rights.
The conservative Washington Times provides a brief history on the events within the state of Nebraska involving the routing of the Keystone Pipeline.
Here is what I have asked of a number of political officials who are criticizing the Obama veto.
The Nebraska Supreme Court voted 4 to 3 that the 2012 state law granting TransCanada permission to build the pipeline in the state was unconstitutional. Given that Nebraska law requires a supermajority, however, of 5 votes to strike down a law, the law granting permission remains in effect.
Following that Nebraska Supreme Court decision in January 2015, TransCanada filed the legal paperwork to begin using eminent domain to acquire land along the pipeline route from the landowners who declined to sell their land rights to TransCanada. Eminent domain would be used for approximately 12 percent of the landowners.
These landowners have received a temporary injunction preventing the seizure of their private land and are continuing to seek permanent protection from a foreign company being able to appropriate their land via eminent domain.
Given you criticism of the President’s veto:
- Do you support the use of eminent domain by private industry?
- Do you support a foreign entity having the ability to claim the right to private property on US soil under the precepts of eminent domain?
- What was your vote (US Senator) or position on Senate Amendment 13, “To ensure that oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline into the United States is used to reduce United States dependence on Middle Eastern oil” to S 1 “Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act?”
- What was your vote (US Senator) or position on Senate Amendment 17, “To require the use of iron, steel, and manufactured goods produced in the United States in the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and facilities,” to S 1 “Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act?”
Shockingly, I have not received any replies to my questions.
Partisan politics aside, am I the only person who finds these questions relevant given all the statements being made about the President’s veto?
For anyone looking for more detailed information on the historical and legal actions in the state of Nebraska regarding Keystone, a starting point, although obviously not up to current events, is the 19 February 2014 order by District Court Judge Stephanie F. Stacy.
The current injunction issued by District Court Judge Mark D. Kozisek is available at the conclusion of this article at Bold Nebraska.
For more personal reflections by those directly impacted in Nebraska, Bold Nebraska has a number of stories.