Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline

An environmental activist has organized an unlikely group to protest the project: Nebraska ranchers and farmers.

Comments: 209

  1. The times they are a changin.

    Eminent domian and the public good, two tools used as a matter of course throughout the last century to solidify the industrial/polictical machine we now have in place. Tools for which big corporations like TCPL take granted as their god given right to do their business.

    Don't get me wrong, those big corporations and the laws that made it easy for them to make money is one reason we have a wealthy society today. But today is not 1945, 65, or 85, what's good for General Motors is not necessarily good for the USA anymore, certainly it is not considered a slam dunk. The idea of public good is conferring more power to public now a days in defining what this statement actually means and how it translates to the everyday person who bears the risk but not the rewards.

  2. Kim you are right - eminent domain has indeed changed. It carries no responsibility for the corporations which get the land they want very cheaply.

    Example: Pfizer in New London Ct.

    After a one-sided battle Big Pharma Pfizer was allowed to take land on which were middle class homes with people living in them, some family homes for multiple decades.

    So the homes were eventually razed and what did Pfizer do? Executives decided Not to use the land and actually downsized other operations \, moving eliminating jobs in the New London area.

    The land is a barren waste.

  3. The idea that the mid section of the country is empty is deeply flawed,or that you can pull the wool over the eyes of people who have made their living as farmers or ranchers in the region.Time to make the sustainable,enough oil madness,short term benefits and high risks of oil sluge and fracking.Dont mess with our groundwater.Hats off to the Cornhuskers and theCowboy and Indian Alliance,does my heart good to hear about this.Common sense makes a comeback.

  4. The reason we have a "wealthy society" today is innovation and industrialization.... and when robots drive the cars we will be "wealthier" yet... or are we even as wealthy as YOU seem to think. We are expensive.. if it's too expensive for people to travel and learn are we we wealthy? My immigrant aunt went home to Europe for a year in the depression -- her mother was a teacher and was not given her entire salary that sabbatical year. How many teachers can afford something like that today.

    Define wealth please? To go to Europe this summer will cost quite a bit more than 5$ a day -- 1960s style -- and even if that figure is raised to accommodate inflation.. you will find the cost about 150$ a day is a lot more than inflation.

    We are in fact, poorer. Check out the price of something necessary like denture< eye glasses (also 7$ through the 1960s!!; college tuition .... etc.)

  5. I first met Jane at the State Dept. hearing on KXL in Lincoln in October 2011. She was wearing her dad's old jean jacket from the Broken Bow Pipefitters Union or something like that and she didn't really get it when I told her that it would sell for like $600 in Silverlake or Williamsburg. Bill McKibben had told me earlier what a "terrific organizer" she is but this is when I knew she was 100% authentic. If KXL is rejected, it will largely be thanks to Jane's ability to unite greens and ranchers on this issue, and the ways she's continued to keep the controversy in the news cycle. I can't wait til KXL is resolved and she finds the next corporate grab to fight.

  6. This is pretty ironic - she's putting the Pipefitters out of work.

  7. Jane Kleeb is a team builder who genuinely cares for people and the environment. Her dedication to Nebraska's future is solidified by the constant meetings, interviews, articles, letters, emails, FB posts, projects, and fund-raising that she has done to keep our land and water safe for our children and grandchildren---fighting against the TransCanada pipeline is a priority She may be petite, but she is mighty in her fight against giants who dispute the truth. I am so proud of what she has done for all of us in Nebraska. Lisa Fricke, Omaha, NE

  8. Go Nebraskans!

  9. More power to Jane! Nebraska has been dormant for more than a century, but in the 1890's was a stronghold of Populism, remarkably advanced on issues of government regulation of the economy and a broad human rights record. Jane, if you read this, go to Lincoln, the Nebraska Historical Society, and read issues of the (Lincoln) Farmers' Alliance from the early 1890s, for inspiration, for discovery of what rural America was like and not afraid to fight for.

    As for Keystone, if you dig deeply you'll find that Hillary's State Dept. (having jurisdiction over the whole program because crossing the international border) commissioned an environmental impact study from a firm which listed TransCanada as a principal client. No, the Company isn't the only villain in the piece, for that honor (?) goes to POTUS for his pushing the move and for lying about energy independence when the rotten product goes to Gulf refineries for overseas markets.

    Yes, we've had Kalamazoo, and we've had the callousness of corporations for some time--as in GM's ignition-killer-switches. Be sure, USG is there to protect the felonious industries, rather than the people whom they harm.

    Wake up Nebraska farmers to their glorious heritage--not as ranchers and farmers, but as human beings with a clear sense of social justice. [Disclosure: I've written several books on Populism, drawing heavily upon the Nebraska Farmers' Alliance, including "Populist Response to Industrial America" Harvard Press, 1962.]

  10. "More power to Jane! Nebraska has been dormant for more than a century,"

    Unbelievable, there's a lot of arrogance and condescension in that statement...

    "Wake up Nebraska farmers to their glorious heritage--not as ranchers and farmers, but as human beings with a clear sense of social justice. "

    Ranches and farms a central point of the OP-ED piece. Why don't you go out to Nebraska and jolt the Nebraska farmers out of their sleep. Explain to them what heritages they should and shouldn't embrace and them come back here to tell how all that works out.

  11. A lot of Canadians don't want the pipeline and are pushing back on the pro-pipeline Canadian government. Bold Nebraska shows people can have power when they join together for a shared purpose. That something bigger is calling to all of us -- with so much at risk for the planet. Thank you, Jane Kleeb and other Nebraskans for stepping up.

  12. We are all indebted to Nebraskans for reclaiming democracy in their battle against TransCanada. It is my hope that their actions will inspire others to push back against government supported bullying and taking. Follow the money to see why there are current attempts in Congress to override public interest and build the pipeline - even at the cost of killing bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that would provide more long term jobs, economic benefits and increased energy security than the Keystone Pipeline ever could. The myth that stopping the pipeline will not halt the destructive production of tar sands oil is belied by the urgency with which Trans Canada and the Canadian government are pushing for it. The next step is to substantially improve tank car safety and upgrade our track system before expanding production of oil from that region. Finally, the people and the planet do not need additional dirty energy in light of the latest depressing notice that burning what we have already has condemned the world to four feet of sea level rise. More tar sand oil will only make it all worse.

  13. I'm sure the statement the allot of Canadians don't want the pipeline either is true. But it's government and a majority of the people realize they need the cash to support their social welfare state. Canada's tiny population is not productive enough to support it.

  14. Jane Kleeb does not cause me concern. It is the Cliven Bundys and their militias which concern me much more......

  15. Stopping the XL pipeline won't stop the flow of tar sands oil. I keep reading about North Dakota oil moving via rail car - a MUCH worse alternative.

    Between the invisible hand of the market always finding a way and the law of unintended consequences, Ms. Kleeb's good intentions are likely to result in something much worse than the safest pipeline engineers have ever designed.

    The Enbridge’s Line 6B oil spill was caused by a 40-year-old pipeline. Without new pipelines, we will run old pipeline harder. Please stop pointing to failures from old technology and saying, "See this is what will happen".

    We need to continue to drive efficiency and higher CAFE fuel economy standards, but our energy infrastructure needs investment. While pipelines, fracking and nuclear reactors must be well regulated, we need projects like the Keystone XL - the do-nothing alternatives are far worse.

  16. The fact that old pipelines are obsolete is a rationale for replacing those, not for building another one. The rationale for building KXL is to INCREASE above the capacity of existing infrastructre the flow of the world's most carbon- and pollution-intensive fuel to refineries in Texas and Louisiana. After being refined, it will enter the world commodities market where it will be indistinguishable from Middle Eastern or any one else's petroleum products. The US does not have its own petroleum market within its borders in which what is produced in the US is restricted for sale in the US. For example, here in Oregon, the construction of a huge liquified natural gas terminal was approved last month, and the shipping of coal by train from Montana across our state to coastal terminals is being fought against. In both cases, good ol' American produced fossil fuels would be shipped right on out of here to Asia, just like those Canadian tar sands would.

    As for pointing to failures from old technology and saying, "See this is what will happen," I totally agree. We need to replace all that old fossil fuel technology partly because I have yet to hear of a solar panel explosion killing people or a wind turbine spill polluting the ocean.

  17. Take off the blinders! Energy infrastructure can also consist of rebuilding the grid to accommodate a decentralized solar and wind production system. That's the future. Squeezing the last drop of fossil fuel out of the ground is a game of diminishing returns, one that may leave the Earth permanently scarred. Let's walk a new path, one the one towards renewable energy, one that has a future.

  18. The alternative is not to 'do nothing', but to move as rapidly as possible to replace finite, polluting fossil fuels with sustainable, clean energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

  19. Excellent reporting! This is the spirit of America being played out right in the middle of our country and in the 21st century. This is what it was like for those who first pioneered America, but now it is simply qualitatively better than mere expansion. This lady ought to be given America's highest award for patriotism and heroism. Were I not so old I would pack up and go join the fight.

  20. Me, too. Accidents are inevitable. It's not if, but when. Didn't this just happen in California? No wonder the Canadian middle-class is now the wealthiest in the world. Lot of money to be made from an investment like this. But, no Canadians will be affected by a spill. Looks like Canada is attempting to replace us as the most environmentally unconcerned, in the interest of profit.

  21. How is concern for life itself a "lefty cause"? Air and water have no political beliefs - they are requirements for living. It is in everyone's interest to protect our water, our land, our air. Talk of safety, in light of so many ongoing disasters, is nothing but talk. Our experts' reassures are no longer believed, because despite their reassurances that they know what they are doing, they failed to prevent the BP disaster, the oil spill in LA yesterday, the drowning of the neighborhood in Arkansas, et al ad infinitum..not to mention the natural gas lines that are aging and exploding around the country, killing people and destroying communities. It happened just last month in upper Manhattan. Our "experts" have become shills for the extractive and poisoning industries that depend on our acquiescence and ignorance to enrich a handful of people while others suffer the consequences. Scientists who warn of clear and present danger are mocked or marginalized.

    Heck, even cowboys and Indians have united against Keystone XL.


    If this goes through, we are even more sunk than we are already; given this week's news that glaciers are collapsing and it is unstoppable. Common sense. folks.

  22. Remember that old saying "don't poop where you eat"? That.

  23. A deeply red colored herring. The question in the short run is how to supply energy safely and at reasonable cost, not whether or not it it can be supplied with utter safety. Of course there will be disasters unless we decide to go back to living as we did in 1900 or realize that we HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE.

  24. Do you drive a car? Then you are an unwitting customer of the pipeline industry. I can guarantee you the gas in your car ran through a pipeline somewhere along its journey from oilfield to refinery to gas station.

  25. This is exactly the kind of spirit and conscience that we as citizens collectively need to exert, from coast to coast, in order to recalibrate the ever growing and deepening inequalities created by corporate and political grabs for profit and power over communities and individuals rights to live the lives that they work for and sacrifice to preserve.
    We might not be as united anymore- socially or politically -in the romantic sense of the United States striving for a better life for all to share in, but we are intrinsically interconnected by water, food supply and quality of air.
    Thank you, Jane Kleeb.

  26. Completely misses the point. Building the pipeline has nothing to do with corporate "grabs for profit". Rather it's the safest alternative to get the oil to the refineries we already have in the southern part of the US. Having said that, I do agree that we now live in a country controlled by commercial interests beyond what is fair and these same corporations intrude in every aspect of our lives. It's just that this has little or nothing to do with this pipeline. If we keep increasing our population then we will keep needing a lot of carbon based fuels or we will wreck our economy.

  27. Trans-Canada appears to have used heavy handed tactics to get Keystone XL built. The fact that they are dismissive of the ranchers concerns has possibly backfired. I'm not opposed to the project as this point, but Jane Kleeb is a formidable opponent for heavy handed corporate bullies. I applaud her and the ranchers for their efforts.

  28. Kudos to Jane, Randy, the Native Elders and all the concerned citizens of Nebraska. Hopefully when they win there, they can lend their support to our efforts to block the "Constitution" Pipe Line here in New York. The CPL, using a similar playbook as Trans Canada, proposes to route hydrofracked Marcellus Shale gas from Northeastern PA through one of the most pristine rural areas of the NY and on to metropolitan markets and no doubt also to all the new natural gas exportation facilities the gas industry is establishing on the east coast. Similar to tar sands oil, much of the gas will be shipped to more lucrative Asian and other markets, reaping enormous profits for the gas industry and sticking it to US consumers driving the price of domestic gas upward. So much for the red, white and blue promise of energy independence of hydrofracked shale gas....

  29. Randy Thompson's query about "the safest ship ever built" is crucial: why don't we learn from past mistakes? There were enough miscues during the 20th century--leaded gasoline and CFC's being two of them--to make it clear that "the greater public good" is NOT a priority for any for-profit corporation. And the lengths to which the makers of leaded gasoline went to discredit Clair Patterson should remind us that corporations don't like the truth about the actual harm their products and policies produce. The spills of bitumen already documented should be enough to suggest to policy makers that the Keystone Pipeline is not a good idea: they will do or say whatever it takes to discredit people like Jane Kleeb and Randy Thompson. If the Canadians are so hot on refining the stuff, let them build their own refineries.

    As for the Nebraska senator and governor doing an end run around the legislature--shame on them!

  30. Populist moves against TransCanada bullies and their paid-off politicians and judges can and should be used against oil and gas hydrofracking companies. Using divide and conquer and eminent domain strategies, they also make promises of "energy independence!" and "jobs!" Except, these are outright lies. Most of the fracked gas is EXPORTED to Europe and Asia where the companies get top dollar. Evidence is found in the construction of mega export terminals on both coasts and explains why fuel costs haven't come down and shortages were rampant this winter. Jobs are not given to locals, but to migrant Oklahomans and Texans who have experience. The work is dirty and dangerous and has the highest accident rate than all other jobs. A fracked area looses property values, has noise and air pollution, roads are ruined by all the heavy trucks. Methane leaks, earthquakes, lowered water tables, ruined water supplies, and waste water disposal issues are rampant. Boom and bust economies create instability. We need multiple clones of Jane Kleeb all over the country.

  31. The world is watching the KXL battle. If Obama denies the permit, it could be the signal forward into a green energy future. And much of the credit will go to Ms. Kleeb.

  32. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for President Obama to move anything forward. The best you can expect is equivocation.

  33. Just another selfish "environmentalist" using the not in my backyard scare tactics to defeat something for good of the continent and the future of the planet. North American oil independence will allow us to withdraw our military from the Middle East saving thousands of lives and trillions in dollars. The tar sands are just going to move on rail cars and the pipeline will be re-routed to the Pacific coast and sold to China. The net result of her brave fight on climate change, zero.

    These Old-school environmental heroes are tearing down hydro damns, preventing the construction of wind farms and large solar arrays. The chances of building any large scale zero emission hydro projects in this country are zero and nuclear is virtually impossible.

    The old orthodoxy of the environmental movement needs a Reformation. Look forward five or tens years, does anyone believe coal fired plants are going to shutdown if it means blackouts. We have to replace the base load on the grid, solar and wind will never do that.

  34. Fine. Then call it 'not in Our backyard'. The land belongs to the people who live upon it.

  35. Keystone XL has nothing to do with energy security or independence.
    It is concerned only with enriching a few Texas oil refiners.
    The extremely toxic Canadian tar sludge will transit our country to be processed, then exported, leaving behind much more toxic waste than usable fuel for export.

  36. Thank you Saul Elbein for this researched article. You clearly spent a lot of time. If as a Peace Corp worker you saw that a bridge across a river would save lives and improve transportation you went to the chief and talked with him, When he made the bridge his idea then it could & would be built. Clearly Jane Kleeb has worked with the respected farming leadership. Their concerns have raised important environmental issues for the protection of land and water and animals. Being able to personally identify with an issue and dealing with direct impact do much to strengthen resolve and involvement. I find myself wondering how a more personal attachment can be created for global warming. Statistics don't alarm the way burning or flooded homes will. But, until there are many repeats it's hard to believe in a global concept. We are not all watching ice melt too fast and even that is not easy because there is so much ice. How do we get some enthusiasm for global stats?

  37. Looking at this as a business management issue, TransCanada needs a bit of a house cleaning. Stubbornly sticking or even planning a route that could threaten a water supply was pure greed and hubris. To save what relatively speaking was a few bucks, they insisted on encroaching on the aquifer. I am not opposed to pipelines, but I might have become an activist if my water supply was at risk no matter how long the odds ( and everyone knows the degree of safety is oversold and conversely the risk is overblown by opposition). Even people that don't own land can easily be galvanized over threats to water supply which is a threat to life itself. Once these foolish moves by TransCanada initially galvanized people they were connected like people rarely are today. It's a case study for an MBA school.

    One of the things I think all the opposing groups are missing in their zeal to absolutely stop this pipeline is the opportunity to force very strict regulation of and legislation that applies to pipelines. They may block this pipeline but pipelines and worse,trains, will carry oil for some time to come. There is an opportunity to get better regulation and legislation that forces the so-called economic externalities to become part of the cost of pipelines and become incentives for managing them very carefully throughout their lifetime; perhaps even stopping some on grounds they are not economic.

  38. Well, the environmentalists don't want nuclear, they don't want fracking, they don't want pipelines, they don't want refineries. All that they want is very expensive energy.

    The question here is misstated terribly by this article. Unless there is a technological breakthrough, more oil is coming to the US. The only question is what's the safest delivery manner which seems to be a pipeline. The alternatives are worse for the American people - expensive and less safe.


  39. There are no magic bullets for energy or anything else. From here out it will be incremental change and yes, it will cost more. Lowest *short term* cost is a 20th century fantasy. Get over it.

  40. @Tom Jennings: "There are no magic bullets for energy or anything else. "

    So you would accept nuclear energy?

  41. The environmentalists are irrational when it comes to actual energy production that meets all our current needs. They know what we "shouldn't" do. They know what they'd like us "to do". The problem is needs are met by what we actually "can" do.

  42. A exemplary, brilliant and insightful campaign by Ms. Kleeb, indeed. One point to note that was not made in this fine article: the counter-argument (that the Alberta tar/oil deposits will be developed "regardless" of whether or not Keystone XL is built) rings hollow. Were that the case, the "resource developers" would have abandoned this contentious, expensive and polarizing project long ago. The fact that they have not done so indicates to me that economically attractive alternatives do not exist.

  43. I applaud the efforts to root out and stop a big company from using sleazball used car salesman tactics to get people to sign on the line to give them a pipeline easement.

    I do agree that if there is a major failure of the pipeline that a great environmental harm will ensue. Just like the failure in the Gulf of Mexico.

    That said, the country as a whole needs to expand and increase all of its infrastructure. We are making babies, some much more than others, and all of them will need energy. The "Green" solution is only a small part of it and will continue to be. We need it all including piping oil from Canada.

    Using Alinsky organizing tactics to get big oils attentions is a great thing, but it is only 1/2 of the issue.

    The second half is to push for a way to make the pipeline happen while making big oil spend whatever is needed to mitigate the risks as much is as reasonable. In this also needs to be some measure that ever dollar of oil sent through the pipeline must be a charge that goes into a trust account for any eventual spill. That account should be in the hands of a local state by sate 3rd party and paid in cash every month.

    Of course if Jane Kleeb and her supporters all agree to not have children, we will not have a population growth and at some point we will have a steady state energy use and no need for such pipelines,miles of windmills, or hundreds of acres of reflective solar panels in the deserts.

    Be for something, not just against something.

  44. People have become so fixated on the Keystone Pipeline as a negative piece of infrastructure that they fail to look at the benefits.

    It is astounding that there is clear data but the general masses are still convinced otherwise that it would be unsafe, or there are better alternatives (very similar to GMO)

    If this pipeline is not built, it will not stop the transportation of the fuel (whether it is by older pipeline or rail), which will increase the risk for spills and leaks. I find it hypocritical that people continue to consume this resource but start protesting once they find out "how the sausage is made", but are unwilling to wean themselves off of it.

  45. It is so easy to take the high ground and, in the process, ignore the low. Here, it is the low ground where the danger lies.

    As of last October, there were 48,000 tank cars on order, a 3 year backlog, and the tank car manufacturers are ramping up production. That backlog is driven primarily by the need to ship Canadian and North Dakota thick crude and bitumen to Gulf refineries and ports.

    The oil is being extracted. It will be sold to buyers outside the US and Canada, either raw or as finished products. It will be transported to them.

    Start from that unassailable reality: The oil will flow. If not by pipeline, then by train. The danger – to people, property, and explicitly the environment – from accidents with multiple trains daily, each hundreds of tank cars long, over multiple routes, far exceeds that from the pipeline.

    I am an environmentalist. But I differ in one significant way: I pursue attainable goals, not publicity-generating impossible dreams. I accept that the oil will flow. Given that: What method minimizes the prospect of an environmental catastrophe?

    As an engineer (not for any energy-associated organization) I assert that the pipeline is the clear winner.

    As a practical environmentalist, then: The pipeline must be built. And it will be. Now, focus on how to route it, govern it, equip it, to be the safest pipeline it can be.

  46. And let's see if Keystone can insure it for catastrophe! And don't talk to se about "self-insured." That's one step away from a bankruptcy filing.

  47. Every environmentalist should be tasked with supplying "x" amount of usable fuel on a daily basis. After all, that's the real challenge. It's easy to oppose something when you're not on the line for what happens if it's not done.

  48. Jane is clearly a modern day Jane Jacobs, the woman who successfully stood up to Robert Moses in his effort to build an expressway through lower Manhattan. Interestingly enough, she moved to Canada in 1968 and joined the opposition to the expressways planned in Toronto.

    Here is another Jane, 50 years later, who has the potential to challenge a project that would not just impact thousands in an urban village, but a project that will impact millions across our nation (if there were a spill into the Ogallala Aquifer, "the lifeblood of Great Plains agriculture"). It's come time for all of us readers to take a stand here.

  49. I distrust messages when the example of threatened harm is far from reality. Saying 10,000 cattle will die when the actual examples of damages from spills are far from that fear.

    The people of rural Quebec can tell you the real life risk of rail oil transportation, over 40 people dead, is a far greater danger than a pipeline. The oil is going to keep moving one way or another.

    Rational analysis says a pipeline is the safest means of transporting the oil.

    I grew up and live in rural Saskatchewan. I own farmland. I have cousins in the American Midwest. The debate of Keystone is no longer rational for the opponents.

  50. Bill,
    It's not "just" the question of 10k cows, you must know that. The entire tar sands project is ill conceived in many ways. The amount of natural gas used to process the tar sands nearly equals the energy ultimately derived from the oil produced. Not to mention the vast damage done to the tar sands mining sites. All to produce a transportable oil which will mostly be exported to markets outside North America facilitating global dependency on fossil fuels. There are other alternatives with far fewer negative impacts.

  51. My ancestors first entered what is now Canada in 1658. They came after rational analyses of their situation in Normandy--and enticements from sponsors.
    There are several debates at play in the Keystone adventure. They include: Pipeline safety. The need to move to green energy sources. Pipeline rights-of-way routes and pipeline rights-of-way acquisition (democratically vs. greedy/dictatorially).
    To the last-mentioned, one might add the need for transparent and fair to all legislation. Not legislation that arrogantly assumes that "income and jobs" is both true and high trump.

  52. The population of California currently is about 38 million humans, not 10,000 cows. If an enormous tectonic shift occurred off the Pacific Coast, the resulting tsunami could well wipe out most of them, with too little warning to do much other than grieve, then rebuild when the waters receded. Do we stop building subdivisions above San Francisco? No, CA injects graphite into its known faults to transform potential enormous quakes into smaller, more manageable tremors, and takes rational and affordable shelter measures in case of catastrophe.

    Why do we do this? We do it because we balance the dangers we know of with the need to create jobs that allow us to pay mortgages and send kids to college and save for retirements. What allows that for well over 300 million Americans is economic activity on a grand scale, prudently managed and regulated to guard against the kinds of catastrophes we can manage.

    One might argue that my example is unfair, as we can guard against a Keystone leak by not building Keystone, and we may not be able to guard against a tectonic shift by any known means; but it's really the same thing when you consider the options open to subdivision builders above San Francisco, isn't it?

    The real question is what's more important to America: significant additional economic activity or the absolute safety of 10,000 cows. Make sure the pipeline is as safe as it can be, and devise quick-response actions for accidents, but build the thing and let's move on.

  53. Richard,

    I do not know where you got your first paragraph but, speaking as a geologist, it is completely delusional and devoid of any actual facts.

    There is no injection of anything into California faults for what should be immediately obvious liability issues in addition to the uncertainty of the effect. There is no 'enormous tectonic shift' that can happen off the Pacific Coast. The San Andreas fault zone is on land for the majority of it's length. There is a tsunamis risk but mostly related to far distant fault zones and the damage would be far less than you apocalyptic language due to the topography of California (the Pacific Northwest now ... that's potential a very different story ...)

    You do know that the movie "2012" was not intended as a documentary, yes?

    A few facts of Keystone are:

    1) the 'significant additional economic activity' would be extremely limited and of short duration. Classic 'boom' then ...

    2) the movement of the tar would do nothing to improve U.S. energy security because all fossil fuels are traded on a global market, the product would probably not be used here. Even the trade balance would barely improve.

    3) the specter of trucks moving the product if the pipeline is not built is by no means a certain thing. The product may stay in the ground, particularly if the money spent to reduce the cost of moving the product were spent on renewable energy sources instead.

    Your example is not unfair, it is 5 steps beyond bizarre.

  54. Paul:

    Try not to be so distracted by your training from the point and substitute Washington State for California, if it better satisfies your sense of geological propriety.

    Talking-points notwithstanding, Keystone and the oil it would bring from Alberta to our Texas coast would create permanent jobs in maintaining the pipeline and expand the use of existing capacity and perhaps require additional capacity to refine it, quite regardless of where the refined products go in the world -- and that means American jobs.

    Canada has made it abundantly clear, again and again, that the oil is not staying "in the ground". Whether by trucks or rail or storks bearing packages, that oil will be exploited to their economic benefit. The question is whether is supports Chinese or American jobs.

    Unlike renewable energy sources at present, oil and its refined byproducts don't need to be "bought" -- they have economic value well in excess of the cost to exploit them; and that delta creates JOBS.

  55. Okay Richard. I'll try not to let reality distract me and go with your approach based on ideologically driven prose.

    Um, actually, no, that won't work for me at all.

    Your commentary about tsunamis risk is incorrect in *any* location. A large percentage of 38 million at risk (I am assuming by 'most of them' you mean at least 50% so you are forecasting the death of 19 million people in a single event). This is beyond hyperbolic.

    Injection of fluids into fault zones to regularly control earthquake mechanics? No. Not anywhere on this planet. We *do* have issues with fluid injection used in fracking and waste disposal causing small quakes that can be a local risk (Oklahoma for instance). That would be a reason to, ah, pursue, fracking with some caution.

    Your magical realism presumptions of the creation and duration of jobs is equally misguided.

    The primary failure in your attempt at analogy is that tsunamis and earthquake risk management is society dealing with natural risk factors. The XL pipeline is society *creating* an unnecessary risk factor. The conservative approach is to not create the risk when it can be avoided. This principal applies to the use of fossil fuels in general. Much has been written about this elsewhere. A small comment window is not the place.

    Fossil fuels only have current value because we have externalized the true costs as we now understand them. If you account for the real cost, FF use is a loser.

    Would you like to move your goal posts again?

  56. There is a wide gap between being a conservationist and an environmentalist. The conservationist wants to conserve and does so with knowledge and experience and common sense.
    On the other hand, an environmentalist is typically city bred,
    a wide eyed kid who did not grow up with nature, and also
    believes he or she can save the world.
    The ranchers in the story have bought into a story that is drenched in fear of what might happen. I'd view the
    proposal carefully before signing an easement. I'd also Klebb's environmental package without understand the roots and origin of her fears.
    Of course, when granting an easement for a power line or pipe line, the company will seek to overstep its bounds.
    A good attorney who has wrestled with power companies and other enterprises who seek to build on your property will attempt to expand their use. The good attorney will
    hold their feet to the fire.
    It would be informative to learn who funds the Klebb cause. That is the first question I would have had of
    Ms. Klebb and then checked her information to see
    if she is really an honest dealer at the table.
    I never trust those whose cause and fire is so noble.

  57. You don't get to define groups of disparate individuals & and then make statements about said groups as factual

  58. "It would be informative to learn who funds the Klebb cause. That is the first question I would have had of
    Ms. Klebb and then checked her information to see
    if she is really an honest dealer at the table.
    I never trust those whose cause and fire is so noble."

    More false balance. The article mentioned Ms. Kleeb's fund-raising call to Tom Steyer, whose own motives might or might not bear scrutiny. The billions of dollars in profits to be gained if the pipeline is approved, on the other hand, render the motives of anyone who extolls the benefits of the pipeline automatically suspect.

  59. Of course you don't trust those whose cause and fire is so noble. The basic (and noble) message of both The Buddha and The Christ is that we treat others as we would like to be treated.
    The article indicated Ms Klebb's funding vehicle. That is as much information as the article gave of the aggressors' many times larger funding vehicle.
    Many--most?--pipeline easements cannot be rejected; the aggressors have eminent domain on their side.

  60. The pipeline will go through, it is inevitable; and, Canada is not going to stop producing and shipping it. This cause has always been a loser in that the trucks and trains shipments are far more costly in terms of shipping costs, added pollution and safety. Even if they stopped shipping through the U.S. (which they will not) they are still going to sell it on the open market which means China. So a few farmers don't want it through their land; there are plenty that don't care if it does and they can simply modify the design.

    I think most people in this country are conservationist at heart, but the leftwing environmentalist are too authoritarian in their views. If we stopped all pollution in this country it would still not stop what is happening to the planet. Environment conservation is a global problem, not just a U.S. problem. We need viable cost solutions that can be shared with India, China and the rest of the developing world, which is where the real problem lies.

  61. So your solution is do nothing and blame everyone else?

  62. It's often said that the tar sands will be developed anyway which is a bogus argument. Clearly the XL pipeline is advantageous to the developers of the Alberta tar sands or they wouldn't be pushing so hard. I don't think we fully understand what's involved here, exploitation of a "resource" with enormous negative environmental impacts for the benefit of very few. In my view anything that can increase the cost of this kind of poorly conceived project is not only justified but required.

  63. Being a former Nebraskan, I am sensitive to the relatively unknown (in the general USA) features of the Nebraska environment. To be sure, farming has changed the environment in Nebraska in major ways but natural wildlands still exist. To be sure, some facts about tarsands are true: stopping the pipeline won't help the world's global warming or even slow it down. These oils are moving by train and truck which is more dangerous than a well constructed pipeline. The real questions remaining are how to virtually eliminate the local environmental damage from pipeline ruptures and which routes represent the lowest damage profiles. Could, for example, pipeline paths be lined with swails that capture any spills and channel them to potential large pools that prevent penetrating into the water table? What technology can detect pipeline ruptures so that valves and pumps function in ways to limit spill size? What pipe materials technology exist to resist corrosion and rupture? What pipe technology is possible to look for corrosion and other factors that progressively increase rupture risk? Can law mandate a growing pipe replacement fund so that the pipeline will be upgrade at some definitive time? Perhaps many other ways exist to make a pipeline markedly safer. It is time to accept that a pipeline is a good idea where as where and how and with what risk mitigation factors still need work prior to starting the building.

  64. Wonderful! Except the conclusion, which would better read as:
    "It is time to accept that a pipeline can be the best alternative depending on ..."
    A pipeline is never a 'good solution'.

  65. I just can't see the opposition to this pipeline, at least from the environmental aspect. If the oil isn't going to go via pipeline, it is going to be shipped via truck or rail which is much more harmful to the environment. And, if the oil doesn't get out of Canada through the Keystone pipeline, it looks like it will probably go over the Canadian Rockies by pipeline, truck, or train for the Asian market to get hold of it. If you want to see an environmental disaster, just go to China or another country like Bolivia, where the Chinese mining companies dump waste lithium into the rivers with absolutely no regard to the people or environment.

    Let's face it, unless the world stops using oil completely, the Keystone pipeline is the best environmental choice for now.

  66. If/when the pipe bursts it will pollute the drinking and irrigation water that is vital to millions of people. Familiarize yourself with the Ogallala Aquifer and you will see why this is such a big deal.

  67. Maybe we should discourage the taking of this dirty oil choice and instead invest in smarter environmentally friendly ways to produce and use energy.

  68. Good thoughts. I for one would love to see the Canadians keep the pollution risk in Canada. The Canadians see the US as already polluted and figure more trash on that trash pile is better than creating a new trash pile at home. They have also hidden their horrendous pollution in the far north where it affects only the last-class Native Americans.

  69. We need to listen to these farmers and ranchers who serve as stewards of our land and water. We all want a clean environment, but they are on the frontline of preserving it. Hooray for them for standing up to TransCanada.
    We need to ask: what is the worst possible thing if the Keystone XL pipeline doesn't go through? I dare say we will all be better off than if it does.

  70. We'd be better off if Jane Kleeb and others devoted their energies to taxing coal. The burning of coal and of the renewables wood and dung kills 7 million people annually worldwide and over 10,000 in the US. Coal, wood, and dung also are the main sources of greenhouse gases.

    On this scale of damage to human and planetary health, petroleum is negligible.

  71. "Coal, wood, and dung also are the main sources of greenhouse gases."

    That's incorrect. Petroleum currently contributes about 12% of global carbon-dioxide emissions, coal about 15%:


    The long-term contribution of renewable biomass burning to global warming, on the other hand, is effectively zero. The carbon in wood, dung and other forms of biomass was recently removed from the atmosphere by plants, and will return to the atmosphere over days to decades through natural processes unless, like coal and petroleum, they are geologically sequestered for millions of years.

  72. Keystone has nothing to do with energy independence since the resulting fuel is to be exported.
    It is all about importing toxic sludge, the vast majority toxic waste, to enrich a few Texas refineries.

  73. Look at the record of the bunch working for the pipeline in Kentucky--misinformation to landowners, throwing around
    "eminent domain" as a corporate right, hiring the governor's son (who says he's running for attorney general)...
    Thanks to long time environmental activists, the present attorney general, and publicity about nuns(!) opposed to the pipeline re their property, a pause/stay/stall has happened.
    Be watchful for the next move.

  74. I guess if people would like oil shipped on train cars going through most major cities and along most rural areas, with risks far greater than a pipeline, that is what will happen. I would like all oil in America, coal shipments, and nuclear power to be stopped for 6 months, and see how people would survive, it would not be good. Then, all of those people who oppose the pipeline would enter the real world. Kleeb and others talk smart, but with over 7 billion people on earth, the exports of the crops in the heartland that these ranchers grow would stop without oil, and all of these people would lose their livelihood, and then see how they feel about it. I grew up in Montana, and go there 3 times a year and love nature, and grow all my own food. A less contentious route through the plains should be a viable option, but not according to this piece.

  75. The oil that will be refined for this Canadian company is not largely going to U.S. customers. It will go elsewhere. The U.S. is simply providing a pathway and refineries.

  76. chris, no where in my piece did I say that the oil would, or would not be used in the American market. I know all that, but the world is a place of international markets. The farmers in the heartland are the most aware of that as their soybeans and wheat are shipped abroad. What I am saying is that America uses the most oil for its people in the world, and I am talking about oil in general in the world relating to the over 7 billion people.

  77. Keystone pipeline emissions are a round off error compared to coal power plant emissions. And due to big oil's lobbying existing pipelines have been built without corrosion allowances (Alaska) and without cathodic protection.
    Fortunately pipelines are the safest means of transporting oil when done--review DOT 1 cubed tank cars and tankers.
    All those pale before the #1 reason for approving this pipeline: America OWES this to Canada, for the Canadians who died in Afghanistan, for the Canadians who died in the North Atlantic to rescue England, and with D-day anniversary approaching for the Canadians who made D-day a success by their sacrifice at Dieppe, and for those who died on D-day at the Canadian beach.
    How many of these "independent Nebraskans spent one minute in an armed service of the United States, weren't they all exempt from the draft as farmers?

  78. What?? We "owe" a Canadian company the use of our land because Canadians died in various wars? That makes no sense, on its face, and less sense in light of your examples of Canadian sacrifices.

    The only case you mention which might be considered Canadians sacrificing lives for the U.S. is Afghanistan. Canadians fighting in WWII were not fighting for the U.S. And, certainly, Canadians helping the British in the Falklands were not fighting for the U..S.

    But beyond the inaptness of your examples, how is it possible that farmers in Nebraska owe a private company the use of their land because of good national relations?

  79. We saved the British Commonwealth, which includes Canada during World War ll, not the other way around. We do not owe them the environment of our country. Patriotism is the love of country: the dirt, water and air that feed us, provide us with clothing and shelter, just as much it is our support for our government. It is a patriotic act to resist the desecration of our environment.

  80. Trans-Canada isn't "Canadians", neither are any of the tar sands related industries. Real "Canadians", such as the First Nations people whose land has been turned into a huge, hideous, stinking, wastepit, incapable of supporting life, but only supremely effective at spreading death & disease (What a monument to the war dead!) are almost totally opposed to the projects. I recommend that you read "War is a Racket" by Gen. Smedley Butler to find out more about human sacrifice for profits.

  81. It was a branding masterstroke to apply the name of an existing pipeline to an all-new 1,700-mile line. Adding the "XL" makes it sound like a simple upgrade - so what's the problem, right?

  82. from the looks of the weather changes - wouldn't we be better off x-crossing the nation with water pipelines rather than oil pipelines? if we need more oil - why not refine it on site so it only has to be moved once - to it's eventual destination. our current practice of moving it twice, only doubles the risk.

  83. Nice story, insightfull well written and photographed.

    Impressive woman. Like the Turning Texas Blue story, the interest in Pikety's book and the growing realization that rich companies are running and ruining our lives I now see momentum building against Republicans. If the corporations did not own the Democrats too I'd be excited rather than just less depressed.

  84. We need to hear more from these people. So far, opposition to the pipeline has been characterized as an effort by left-wing, anti-capitalist, eco-fanatic, effete Easterners. It may be a good idea to point out that many local farmers and ranchers also think this is a terrible idea, to put oil profits ahead of land and water safety.

  85. Trans Canada Pipeline is the wolf in Granny's clothes, another BP catastrophe waiting to happen, Big Pharma, Big Pesticides, Big Dairy, Big Farm, Big Soda and all the Bigs that are driving the US off the pike into the hinterlands of disaster. There is not a single good reason for the United States to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to dig trenches in our Midwestern and western states from Alberta all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, which has still not recovered from Hurricane Katrina and the massive oil spill of 2010. The pipeline is a revolting development.

  86. What would you recommend be done with all the pipelines already in place and working? In the very same area of the country? What would you be willing to forego in order to shut down those "old" pipelines?

  87. Theft of land through the use of eminent domain isn't a lefty cause. The left doesn't recognize private property rights.

    In this case self interest of those who want to protect their land from both theft and environmental ruin have aligned on one issue. If and when they stop it the left will continue to fight them on irrigation, grazing rights and all the other self interest these farmers have to protect their land and way of life.

    This is simply another example of self interest crossing ideological lines. After the pipeline is either stopped or built these farmers and their "conservative" values will be under attack from the left.

  88. You toss around terms like left and right as though they mean anything. The new "right" has become the cause of corporations, which in most cases is not aligned with the "conservative" values of farmers. These farmers are realizing that populist ideals to which they have ascribed for generations are being sold off lock, stock and barrel to big business. Republicans have sold themselves to corporations and in doing so have lost the mantle of being a party of the people. They are losing the heartland of America. The only way they can win elections is to buy them. We live in a democracy where votes are earned by sound policy and promises kept, not bought and sold like livestock.

  89. Maybe you can keep your fingers crossed on that wish. I won't bet on it though.

    The entire concept of "Lefty", etc is a mostly a media myth to get people to listen to otherwise vapid talk radio shows. I have friends who live in York and they say you're wrong, dead wrong friend. It's sort of like getting to know a gay person or an African American neighbor ...you suddenly realize they're just like you. There is no law that says a conservative farmer and a liberal activist cannot become united on multiple issues and even become cose friends and that apparently bothers some people. Too bad...thank God there are folks in America who realize there is something better than being a liberal or a conservative - it's called being an American.

  90. Biggs, did you READ what you wrote? That made no sense. Just like the Conservatives.

  91. Oil from the Athabasca Tar Sands is literally in the form of TAR, which is what makes it so expensive and environmentally destructive to process. Other petroleum products are added to it and I suspect even more is needed to get it to flow thru pipes.

    Id' prefer that this were not done at all. BUT given that it is out of our hands, why not transport it overland in the form of sludge that does not flow easily?? If a car overturns, the clean-up would be easier and less damaging than a pipe leak from flowing oil. If necessary, build a railway. Then, when the oil is gone it might serve some other purpose, either to transport something else or for tourism.

  92. Eventually, Earth's population will come to its senses and force an end to the destruction of The Atmosphere and Oceans on which all life depends. The survivors of decades of famine, pestilence and wars whose root-cause will be searing weather calamities, dead ahead.

  93. I understand that people frequently don't like to live near certain types of infrastructure. But where in the world do these folks think the gas for their trucks is coming from? It doesn't spring from the ground underneath gas stations, it's transported there by trucks (powered by hydrocarbons) ultimately coming from refineries that are the destination for the materials carried in pipelines. Buried in this article is the fact that if there is no pipeline, the hydrocarbons will be transported by *rail*. This is less safe AND less green! We cannot currently support our energy needs with solar and wind power alone, so we're going to have to deal with the issue of hydrocarbon transport even if we don't like them.

  94. One way to take meaningful action on KXL is to start driving a plug-in hybrid or all-electric car. Start educating yourself at www.pluginamerica.org . I'm driving my second all-electric Nissan Leaf (at 3 cents/mile compared to 12 cents/mi on gas), and it does 90% of all the driving in our two-car household.

    I have a sticker on the back: "This Is What The End of Gasoline Looks Like"

  95. I'll say it again: an even better way to take meaningful action on KXL is to pressure Congress to pass a carbon tax.

  96. Maybe you need to re-read the article and perhaps do a little research into the subject. First of all, if you're not willing to have the same risk on your property, to your loved ones, then don't expect anyone else to. It's easy to criticize these folks when you're not in their shoes. These people have stood up for their community - about as American an undertaking as can be imagined.

    And if you buy the lies about "energy independance", well that's your affair. The ultimate purpose of Keystone, like the vast majority of fracking activity in the US, is not energy independance - these people, like your typical coporations that fire senior workers, offshore jobs & profits, etc., could care less about the American people. These huge projects have been concieved for one reason only: to boost corporate profits by creating surplus for export. All at the cost of American health, both human and environmental. As for the lies about jobs? Please. Ask anyone in NE Pennsylvania how that's wortked out for them. The frackers wove the same web of lies and now their creeks & streams are polluted and almost empty and guess what? There are no jobs.

  97. Ms. Kleeb and the farmers and cattle men and women of Nebraska seam to have gotten this right. Tar sands oil is a stew of dirty oil and gas under pressure. A single pipe line blow out would be devastating to the affected properties. Canada is already rethinking tar sands extraction methods because of the resulting environmental damages that are already occurring. As usual the republicans got advocating for the XL pipeline all wrong. Big money buys republicans at will and they never argue with big money. Thank you Ms. Kleeb and thank you farmers and ranchers of Nebraska.

  98. This should be one of those causes where every person of good faith should become an activist, comparable to the anti Vietnam war movement. It is truely one of the biggest and most symbolic cases of ill conceived governance and corporate greed.

  99. Should not "every person of good faith" who wishes to become an activist be an informed activist? How did you learn that "ill-conceived governance and corporate greed" were involved? Who gets to decide what "ill-conceived governance and corporate greed are"? You? Me? And what is meant by "good faith"? Who gets to decide that, if it can be defined?

  100. Well now, perhaps the Koch brothers have met their match in Jane Kleeb, and that's a good thing. But really, do we not get to see the picture of Scott Kleeb that set all of this in motion?

  101. Maybe the Brand X behind the supposedly liberal POTUS are the real characters being matched. In that though, without all of us standing up and saying no, this person is just being raised for a target and so easily talked over, and the ranchers standing in the way of Canadian resources extraction, bulldozed. Without genuine news media organizations, these folks will only ever be a single front page story before they disappear againMaybe at some level those folks are up on high battling over regions and their resources, but down here they want us to look at them as individuals, some of whom have ideologies to oppose. What we should actually oppose is the entire system that has a nation of consumers lulled into slumber to consume in silence, or activated for brand consumption-no matter if the latest food craze or coffee style, or a Presidential campaign. Folks out there who call themselves liberals, man of whom were bought and paid for with a single key issue, so that the future can be sold out from everyone. Bait and switch. You all can have this icing, but the all powerful money behind the curtain, are eating the whole cake.

  102. Thank you, Jane Kleeb! Many of us in Texas would love it if you could stop the pipeline before it even gets into the U.S. One question: Alberta is a whole heck of a lot closer to the west coast of Canada than it is to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Why not send it "trans-Canada." Surely there are some refineries closer to the Alberta tar sands than those in Texas?

  103. Rocky Mountains.

  104. It takes a lot of time, and guts, for Individuals to come together and fight a huge Corporation like Trans Canada - but, fight they must. One leak from Keystone XL, and their entire water supply is poisoned. Their ranches and communities would be worthless.

    The blatant audacity of Trans Canada's conduct lets you know that those folks think that Money is God. They haven't a care that burning their tar sands oil is killing the Planet, and thus ourselves. Transporting tar sands oil via this continental pipeline poses endless possibilities for leaks, and huge environmental damage.

    Thank you, Jane Kleeb, for caring enough to fight so hard. The ONLY thing that has ever changed the course of Corporate Greed and Planetary Degredation are small groups of informed and concerned citizens. I stand with the Ranchers and Farmers who oppose Keystone XL.

  105. I do not know enough to be for or against the Keystone XL pipeline, but I do have a nagging question which the activists have so far not addressed: There are now in existence, and have been for many years, lots of old pipelines criss-crossing the US in various places. Evidently these pipelines carry many things such as natural gas, oil, etc. There are also, right now, many new pipelines approved and under construction according to what I have been able to find on the Internet. Nearly all who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline say it is "bad", but evidently all the old, in-use pipelines, and the ones under construction, are "good". Can anybody tell me why the XL is bad, but all the others are good?

  106. They're not "good" they're simply there. Even once you have emphysema, its still a good idea to quit smoking. Our thinking actually evolves on a subject, imagine!

  107. One way the existing pipelines are good is that the majority don't cross
    major aquifers.

    And, most of us who live in the land of existing pipelines understand that
    this infrastructure needs repair and replacement. Lots and lots of job
    creation in infrastructure maintenance!

  108. Heartwarming! The dirty dilbit is simply not compatible with farmland and wildlife routes. With the rise of renewable energy sources, we need to think beyond greed and those who would profit from transporting explosive sludge to Texas for processing and eventual export. Let the Canadians figure out what to do with their mess. Right on Jane!

  109. Vanessa, I'm not sure what the Koch Brothers have to do with this. Both sides have their billionaires.
    By the tone of the article you would think the cattle were being raised as pets rather than for the slaughter. Either way they "lose" their cattle. If they die from some unlikely pipe line accident they will get paid. If they die now from unrelated disease they will not. The United States is criss-crossed with tens of thousands of miles of pipelines, without which we would freeze in the dark. There are some spills and these are cleaned up at great expense, but relative to the infrastructure there are few. Our roads can kill hundreds on a weekend but we don't shut them down.

    In any case the alternative to Keystone is to ship by rail which is far more dangerous. Or some of the oil can be shipped to Asia. It seems odd to pick on Canada which is far better governed than we are. Billionaires of left and right have little influence there. Nor do environmental lobbiets.

  110. "Both sides have their billionaires." Ah, good old false balance. Even as the NYT is deprecating it as an editorial policy, fossil-fuel interests can count on their shills, whether paid or volunteer, to sustain it in the comments.

    Assuming genuine ignorance on JK's part, let me point out what the Koch brothers have to do with this:


  111. I find it interesting that one commentor stated Jane Kleeb is "selfish." Really? And what are these corporations, who love to socialize risk to the little people and privitaze all profit for themselves? Many of these corporations would not know the common good if it bit them on the nose, and they are legally required to look only to the next shareholders' report. It is not an exxaggeration to label their behavior as sociopathic.

    Others wrote that the fears were exxaggerated. What about the spill in Kalamazoo? Oh, it is an old pipeling...there is always some excuse, but considering that the Deepwater Spill came about partially as a result of shoddy materials by corporations cutting corners for profit, and this week's example of GM and the ignition switches, (the list goes on and on) why should any of us trust these corporations - ever?

    Congrats to Jane Kleep and these ranchers and farmers for standing up for themselves, their land, the water table, and democracy itself. You all give me hope.

  112. The alternative to pipelines would be to carry the oil by train. More accidents. Look at Lac-Megantic. Large cattle farms are totally dependent on oil-based transportation to market their product. They are not yeoman farmers with 2 cows. The are part of the agricultural-industrial complex.

  113. The mega-oil train accidents are so damaging because of a lack of regulation of rail cars. What they are using to transport oil was not intended for that use. If safer rail cars (already on the market) must replace the dangerous ones, maybe the cost to oil transporters would discourage them further. Stop the XL! Regulate oil transport rail cars!

  114. The Keystone pipeline has no place in our present or future. We desperately need renewables, and need them now. Climate change is a reality. Let's not add fuel to the fire, no pun intended. I just hope Jane Kleeb is willing to tolerate windmills on the horizon and fields of solar panels because I know many of us would. We all have to make sacrifices to create a clean and lasting planet. Hats off to Jane Kleeb, Terry Van Housen and the rest of the opposition to the pipeline.

  115. If the Keystone "has no place in our present or future", what about all the other pipelines which have been in place and working for years? Do they have a place? Or should they be dismantled and removed?

  116. Amazing that when there's money involved, the argument is that opposing it is also against America, your fellow man, the greater good, etc. Ironic that it's a foreign company behind it. Sad that someone who wants to protect the land for everyone rather than for a few who will profit ends up being cast as the criminal, in the path of the court system just for exercising what we have traditionally assumed are basic rights.

  117. There are a couple of things I would like done and to be ;llearned to give a sense of scale and benchmarks in an article like this. Could you show me how much damage a gallon would do versus a barrel as well as the impact of thousands of each ? Does a spill break down and provide any beneficial effects over time ? Finally, a large deal like this is business. If the line is not made, the oil will go directly west to China. It is a very simple decision. There is a solution here . Strip out the emotion. I am pro-business and pro-environment. We can come to a good solution . Let's not act like those people in Washington that can never come up with a solution.

  118. Wonderful work! Cuts to the core of what moves people: not just self-interest, but "something bigger than themselves." The anecdotes are moving to read and, no doubt, reflect why Kleeb and others were so effective.

  119. Endless environmental studies, the State Dept’s being only the latest, have shown without a shadow of doubt that the pipeline will create no unmanageable risk to the environment. It's great that the likes of Jane Kleeb have the time and money to waste tilting windmills, but the real world does need to go on.

    Hey, it isn’t like we don’t already have tens of thousands of miles of pipeline crisscrossing our country, all built with much lower technology than is available today. If we think that by banning the construction of the pipeline we will somehow or the other stop the exploitation of the Canadian tar sands, then we should also believe in the tooth fairy & the Easter bunny. If it is economically feasible it will be done & as we have recently seen if the oil can’t reach its markets by pipeline it will come by far less environmentally safe rail cars.
    Indeed the While House has caused the approval of the project to be delayed far too long already as it has in the case of holding up the approval of a genetically modified fish that could greatly help alleviate the world’s increasing demand for animal protein, and heed the wild the-sky-is-falling pseudo arguments of the environmental zealots, then he won’t. It will be a good test. I really hope he goes for science and sensible economic development.

  120. It made my eyes tear up reading this article and was reminded, once again, that the little people can still union against big money and with the right leader hold them off and go on to win. (I hope!!)

  121. There's something I don't understand. Why do they have to build the pipeline on US territory...why can't they do it on their own? Canada has a west coast and east coast. Why can't they build their pipeline across their own country (east-west) to one of their coasts? They could build infrastructure on the Canadian coast to handle the logistics, storage and shipping on their own territory. I suspect the waters on their coasts are deep water areas. They don't have that infrastructure yet? They could build it and pay it all back from future earnings from the oil. Looking at a map, it seems to me it's a shorter route from fields to their coasts than it is to our southern port.

    I am just asking because I have never seen the answer to this in any media account. Let the Canadians do their own project on their own soil and deal with the consequences themselves. Why not?

  122. The answer is that there is huge opposition in Canada to such a pipeline through British Columbia to the Pacific coast, including by the BC provincial government, itself.

    The tar sands oil is both highly toxic and highly corrosive. There have already been several bad spills in Canada and in Michigan, with dire environmental consequences. The writing is on the wall, for anyone who wants to read it.

  123. Harper said the final decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline will be made by June. The oil industry wants both pipelines.

  124. Good work Jane. We have a big check headed your way. The oil companies need to get out of the oil business and into the energy business. Someone on their boards of directors must have heard about the railroads and airlines.

  125. And how much methane is being produced by the cattle raised by those ranchers?

    And is it really better to have trains loaded with oil going through urban areas?

  126. Congratulations to all these brave folks. They have a big, multinational corporation running scared.

    Help them a little. Go to Bold Nebraska and donate a little cash. They will unfortunately need lots of legal work.

  127. I acknowledge that PV production is a toxic act in and of itself, but sincerely wonder what a solar disaster looks like...

  128. A solar spill is called a sunny day.

  129. What would be a "solar disaster"? You'd lose that half gallon of ice cream in the freezer?

  130. Cutting off the subsidies would end the pipeline construction and save us a fortune.

  131. That Keystone XL PIpeLine is the biggest harbinger and the black goo so called oil a disaster in the making. Worst is that US gulf coast refineries are old, outdated and already a hazard that no body in their right want in their neighborhood. Houston has finally woken up to the reality of the air, land and water pollution. That smell of smog referred to as smell of money is no longer a lure for better life and prosperity.
    Those old refineries are not viable and neither will the greed creed oil / gas / petroleum companies money into fixing and upgrading them. Plus the Gulf coast is over populated and climate change makes all of TX, OK, LA inviable to meet the needs the area and the people. Let alone the safety and environmental impact.
    If TransCanada is dead set on this venture this shale oil. why no have the oil companies build new and modern refineries in ND etc with 50 miles from where this black goo is being produced. Vast ND, MT , WY . SD lands can use new towns, cities and relocation of people and more representation in the US Congress.

  132. There is a proposed refinery for SD, the project started 10 years ago and still has not received approval from the government.

    Instead of these long battle to build new refineries, just upgrade the existing ones. There have been major refinery upgrades during the past 10 years, much of it is to process tar sands.

  133. Jane gives us in Tucson some hope. Rosemont Copper was all set to dig a gigantic Copper mine in the nearby, pristine Santa Rita Mts. It's no longer a sure thing after people who love these mountains woke up. Maybe "jobs" don't always win over the mountains we love. We're hoping.

  134. Money talks. If this pipeline is going to have the best and most secure why don't they put it on the lines that have burst? A billion for a clean up and still not completed!!! Those who live nearby will be the ones who suffer the most. And what if this pipeline does bust and pollute the water? Will they truck in money to water the cows, the crops and the people? The water table is the most precious resource any man has. Look what happens to folks without water! There is more to life then money.

  135. The Kalamazoo and Arkansas spills were from pipelines built in the 1950's with no protection against external corrosion.

    The pipe used for Keystone is coated with epoxy to prevent corrosion.

  136. I wonder if we can even put a number to the hundreds if not thousands of oil spills we're "still cleaning up" all across the country.

  137. I heard Ralph Nader interviewed on the radio a few days ago and he said, that finally, people from both conservative and liberal backgrounds are finding common cause in issues such as this one, where a disaster from a blown pipeline carrying liquid bitumen ruins the lives of everyone, regardless of their politics.

    For years, the corporations have practiced divide and conquer tactics to get their way. Just as many Republicans as Democrats were ruined by Wall St bankers; just as many Republicans as Democrats are killed and injured by defective cars; finally, Republicans and Democrats breath the same air, drink the same water, eat the same food and care for their future and their kids' future.

    These issues transcend political labels. BRAVO to Kleeb and Thompson!

  138. "..pipelines generally get the right of eminent domain — but most states can restrict that right, determining whether pipelines are in the public interest..."

    It is the pivotal question: is the land to be confiscated for the Koch oil barons' pursuit of wealth, and their quest to influence, or even control the political destiny of the USA, or will this pipeline's effluent actually be useful to fuel American's home and industry, here, in America?

  139. More political bias here hiding from the truth to make some feel good about themselves.

    Too bad because the oil will end up somewhere else in the global market.

  140. Why don't the same eminent domain laws for pipelines apply to high-speed rail? Because there are sure are people getting in the way of those projects and harming the public good.

  141. Eminent domain would be used for a high-speed rail. It is also used for power lines connecting wind farms.

  142. The argument that the oil will be shipped anyway, by rail, is disingenuous. If the pipeline can be stopped, then rail cars can, too.

    Further, there is huge opposition in Canada to transporting tar sands oil -- whether by pipe or rail -- through British Columbia to the Pacific coast, including opposition by the BC provincial government, itself.

    Canadians opposed recognize that tar sands oil is both highly toxic and highly corrosive, and that assurances about pipeline safety are problematic.

    They also recognize the devastating impact tar sands operations are having on the environmentally critical boreal forest, already under pressure from global warming.

    Apparently, TransCanada think they can more easily buy off American politicians. They may be right about that, but clearly they didn't forsee the grit of American farmers.

  143. "If the pipeline can be stopped, then rail cars can, too."
    No, it can't.

  144. Corporatist and right wing Republicans and Tea Party members are really big on property rights when they belong to law breakers or big corporations but when it comes to people like Terry she is a NIMBY who is getting in the way of progress and they want her gone. The Demmocrats have a responsibility to speak up for people like Terry and others in this country who's lives are being ruin for the profits of two industries that are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer while enjoying the highest profits ever and who have managed to pollute air, earth and water while avoiding and significant liability and that includes BP.

    It is time for the DEMOCRATS to stand up and say ENOUGH.

  145. It is not just we Dems who need to speak up and stand up on the environment.

  146. Two truisms: "all politics is local," and people vote their pocketbooks. Bravo, Jane, well done.

  147. "Barry Rubin, a former head of the Nebraska Democratic Party and now a consultant for Trans­Canada, told me. “She uses hyperbole and fear to make reasonable people think that something awful is about to happen. She’s embellishing to susceptible people.”

    One more example of someone who has jumped from politics to being a consultant becoming a shrill for corporate interests. If Canada is so interested in developing the tar sands for export, perhaps they should build their own refineries rather than send it through the entire continental United States risking oil spills on prime farm land.

    Jane Kleeb is an inspiration and we need more people like her who are willing to take on big corporate interests at the grass roots level.

  148. SHAME on Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana... Shame on Hillary (that woman is just too much -- why does she have to prove she is more rotten than the men!!) -- shame on Obama.

    What I learned from this article but I did not know before -- the Kalamazoo River oil spill ....

    We need more Jane Kleebs. I guess fracking -- will the pol in Albany do what THE PEOPLE want?? and keep it out of NYC and the oil pipeline and the also potentially hugely destructive TransPacificPact are the three big issues in the USA so far as preserving the planet ... We have already destroyed more habitat than we should have... and need a policy of keeping any open unpolluted land in exactly that condition.

    BTW let's do the Chinese a favor, and let them develop the hydrogen car --- so they don't need oil..

  149. NIMBY "Not in my back yard".

    Let's cut off government assistance and farm aid to these folks.

  150. Well, you do cut off 'aid' when you use eminent domain to bulldoze your greed ahead of you. Not everyone in Nebraska is a rancher, farmer or merely concerned with our own back yard. I'm very concerned for my NY and Brooklyn friends who will be flooded out (again) when the waters rise. Should I quit worrying for your issues?

  151. Why must the refinery be in Texas? Is it because Texas has ports to ship the oil elsewhere? Is there waste generated from the refining process? Will the U.S. just provide an "oil highway" for this Canadian crude?

  152. What an inspiring article. I think Jane and her Nebraskan followers are awesome! The power is still with the people if they would only realize it.

  153. Awesome story. Thanks.

  154. Kudos to Saul Elbein for this great, well-thought-out, well-written article.

    I take every chance I get to weigh in against the pipeline and fracking. While new research indicates that Congress critters follow the dollar's influence and not their voters' views, I find that administrative agencies do tend to give at least some weight to public comments -- and, sometimes, the public comments even win!

    So, Jane Kleeb, you go girl! And, for everyone else, keep speaking up!

  155. All I can say is WOW !! What a great national hero. Thank you for your excellent in-depth story. It's a wonderful thing to hear how we as individual humans can gather together and actually fight-off and overcome greedy big business.

  156. When is this country going to get really serious about solar and wind?

  157. I think more jobs would be created if we modernized our electrical grid and went whole hog on renewable energy. The only difference is that more people would get paid, not fewer. Fossil fuel concentrates wealth for the few, prove me wrong. Who decides ownership of land,water and vital natural resources? Human greed will be our downfall, but hey......PARTY ON!

  158. Where do I get my "Stand With Randy" tee-shirt?

  159. “It’s just Chicago-style politics,” Rubin told me.

    If you're going to pretend to be a Democrat, at least stop using the language of the Republican Party and its rightwing allies on TV.

  160. This seems like big business attempting to steamroll local citizens but it's also "not in my backyard." It seems to me if Nebraska state residents don't want this pipeline, they shouldn't be forced to accept it. The same applies to "fracking" issues in other states.

  161. Nice article. Pipeline seems like a horrible idea. Go Jane Kleeb!

  162. Thank you, Jane.
    Sometimes political success is measured not by the facts presented in a debate but rather by the rhetoric your opponents use to describe or define you - an attempted diversion from substantive matters. Villification using geographical refences is a popular ploy (so you might want to keep your long form birth certificate handy).
    When you are described as working "on behalf of East Coast environmentalists who hate fossil fuels," or your community organizing success is called “Chicago-style politics,” that is a sure indication that you are winning on the merits.
    How ironic that your corporate adversaries choose to portary you as the foreigner here! I don't pretend to understand all the science involved in this issue, but the people of Nebraska seem to be gaining an understanding of which folks have local interests at heart and which folks' intersts lie someplace else.

  163. I wonder how "Californians with Common Sense" can enlist Jane's help to drive a stake through the heart of the Bullet Train Project. Talk about a huge risk...this project would jeopardize America's food chain by altering the eco system in the central valley. Californians with Common Sense unite!
    What's Jane's phone number again?

  164. You are a perfect example of hippy environmentalism. California's Central Valley is already crisscrossed with roads, railroads, canals, power lines and large cities. How is a derailment of an electric passenger train going to destroy the food supply. More old school environmental scare tactics.

    What the bullet train will do is take thousands of cars off the highways and reduce the carbon footprint. It's about climate change now, or did you not get the memo.

  165. Those against the pipeline are self-absorbed selfish people who need a cause to feel validated. Farmers and ranchers are already two of the most pampered groups in the country (can you name any other groups that get to write off all of their vehicles and gas?), and so the idea of some of them being against something that would be such a boon to so many strikes me as the height of hypocrisy.
    And we could, in fact, use far fewer cows in the world.

  166. Since you asked: vehicle expenses are tax write off for most people in the US who use their car for business, just like the ranchers and farmers do.

  167. The argument that Nebraskans should accept the pipeline because otherwise the oil will be transported by rail is a desperate one. It just underscores the fact that there IS no safe way to transport oil. Go Bold Nebraska! I wish Michigan could be as assertive.

  168. So, stay home and shiver in the dark?
    There's also no safe way to drive a car......

  169. Pipelines are an essential part of lives. There are already hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines coursing throughout North America delivering natural gas and oil. Yet, the paranoia which has engulfed Keystone is astonishing. 99.99% of the time, everything works fine... Occasionally, there is a spill. But much like how newspapers never cover the thousand flights a day which DON'T CRASH, there is a fixation with any spill.
    Life is messy and the best we can do is manage risks. I'd love to know how many of the products Ms. Kleeb uses every day were created as the indirect result of a pipeline.

  170. Kill the ogallala basin and kill the country. No way is an airline crash an valid comparison.

  171. If a project is good for the Koch brothers, it must be good for the average citizen. Right?

  172. Isn't a better approach having another "pipeline" company buy some key the easements. Isn't it one easement per land area?

  173. How many moose and elk has the Alaska pipeline killed? Now how many people have been killed by runaway rail oil tankers?

  174. Wonderful! I know that course: I'm from a homesteading family and was a Goldwater Republican. But, us type folks have a culture of taking care of our neighbors. That will soon motivate you to leave the Republican Party if you think about it.

  175. Good work Ms. Kleeb and the people of Nebraska. Whether the pipeline is going under the ranch or you are a thousand miles away, it is a terrible, frightening idea and should be stopped. Also Canada wake up and stop dreaming about an oil rich future.

  176. Wow. Big Oil vs. Anti-Big Government Farmers and Ranchers. Should be on Pay-Per-View.

  177. We are deeply grateful to courageous people like Jane, Scott, Randy and their supporters who stand up to the oil bullies. We have our share of both groups here in Colorado where water is scarce, and Big Oil outbids everyone for water rights to frack the land.

  178. Ms Kleeb and Nebraska landowners have every reason to be leery. History has shown us repeatedly not to trust big oil corporations....or any large corporation. For what this project would cost, we could be investing into researching alternatives to fossil fuels instead of prolonging our greed-driven dependence on it?

  179. I'm not a fan of one issue environmentalism, however I do recognise that you have to start somewhere. What I do see often is that people are behind a cause until it negatively effects them. I would be more convinced of Bold Nebraska's motives if Mr Van Housen would acknowledge and describe the environmental damage that his and other factory farms cause, and perhaps an accounting of the number of gas guzzling vehicles that are currently being used along the pipeline route. This appears to be a NIMBY cause. If you want and need oil, you can't really complain when it crosses your back yard.

  180. And while I am ranting, why aren't we doing more to develop algae as an energy source. To the Oil Cartel:Adapt or die. That is the message they have been sending to consumers since Reagan.

  181. The oil will be exported, outside of a few making huge profits and putting those profits offshore and away from taxation there is no gain. The potential for destruction of our land is greater than any gains from temporary construction jobs. The downside of this operation is greater than the benefit and so the decision should go, no to this pipeline.

  182. This sounds just like how our struggle against fracking in NY state started (I know, I was there; see this PSA I did recently for AAF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5dDa5S1BSU).

    All these struggles are connected.

  183. These ranchers must be a bit naive. They have FAR more to fear from "progressives" than from a pipeline. If the "progressives" had their way, the ranchers would be stripped of their land and forced to live in urban slums.

  184. That's a keen insight. I expect you could be very right. It will be too bad for progressives that some ranchers might miss the stripping, having left Nebraska because their water supplies were contaminated years before those fool progressives do their best to do their worst. It's heartening to know there is someone like you who really has their eye on the ball. Try not to let it hit you in the head next time.

  185. The problem isn't the pipeline the problem is that the Koch bros. own 2.2 million acres of rights to the tar sands,& they would benefit astronomically from this going through.If you think they're a problem now subverting our democracy through their bribery YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING.

  186. The Nebraska Sandhills are beautiful. The Ogallala Aquifer vital to the life and economy of the Plains. Aside from the lives of 10,000 cows, a major leak could irrevocably destroy the aquifer and the ecosystem that millions of Americans depend upon for their livelihood and lives. The story of Keystone seems to be in part that of a corporation that isn't undertaking an honest cost-benefit analysis of the pipeline route(s) that are most expeditious for their short-term business interests. Kestyone is relying on bad science and bad economics.

  187. So what good will this pipeline do the US? Seems like just a few more jobs at a refinery and then shipped overseas. I dont see the rush to send this and the fracking nat. gas ovrrseas overseas is to our benefit in the long term. Just quick big oil profit. They say it will make the US energy independent -well not if it is shipped overseas.

  188. All it takes is one person to bring about change. I keep reading the fatalistic arguments that if the oil doesn't go through the Keystone pipeline that it will still go somewhere. Taking their attitude, we might as all lie down and let the oil companies keep destroying our earth. Nothing humans do is inevitable. The comment "There are some spills and these are cleaned up at great expense," is simply not true. There are spills, but no matter how much money is spent, they are never cleaned up. Attempts are made to clean them up, but it's impossible to clean up a spill of hundreds of thousands gallons. The best place for the tar sands oil is to leave them in the ground. At some point we humans need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough.

  189. So many assertions wrong in this comment:

    "Nothing humans do is inevitable. " If that were only true. If only accellerating population growth could be reversed. Every environmental issue stems from individual persons insisting on their natural rights to create offspring. But, that's inevitable, and mankind is dooming itself in the process.

    "Attempts are made to clean them up, but it's impossible to clean up a spill of hundreds of thousands gallons." Totally false. Oil is spilled literally hundreds of times per year, in significant quantities, across the crude oil production, transport, storage and refinement processes, and virtually all are cleaned up -- completely.

    "At some point we humans need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough." Maybe you are ready to commute on a bicycle. Most are not. "Enough is enough" for population growth. But if you and your mate have more than one child, you are the cause, not the oil companies responding to your demand for energy.

  190. "In late April, Kleeb held rallies on the National Mall with a group referred to as the “new C.I.A.” — the Cowboy and Indian Alliance — made up of ranchers from along the pipeline’s route and Sioux from South Dakota tribes. Kleeb stood onstage, flanked by Sioux elders waving tribal flags. "

    Nebraska is a great state and senators like Roman Hruska helped make it so. The ranchers want to continue that legacy. Good work Jane and continue to explain your ideas on additional national and global issues.

  191. Irregardless of eminent domain rights. The Canadiens have shipped the USA all their energy for the past 65 years. This has helped the USA weather the Arab oil embargo, natural gas shortages and heating oil and gasoline shortages. Now the USA has told our good neighbors that we don't want your energy anymore.
    So, Canada is shipping their energy everywhere but here. The emerging economies of the world are now beating a path to their doorstep to sign for long term supplies of oil and natural gas.
    So, when you go to the Canadiens and ask for energy because your supplies have been disrupted, don't be surprised when they say NO ! Our energy is already committed to our good friends in Malaysia, Korea, China etc.

  192. We'd be smart to find alternative sources derived from that remarkable nuclear power-plant, the sun.

  193. Thanks, again, to the people of the Walthill area of Nebraska. Two generations back they fostered the formation of the Center for Rural Affairs. Now they are fostering a broader approach to rural development.
    The exploitative rights-of-way (and the obscenely un-democratic way they are obtained), and the glossing over of environmental damage were demonstrated more than a century ago when the railroads commandeered then destroyed forests in Appalachia, and later exploited the region's coal. All with the result that another rural area lost its physical capital to outside 'investors'.
    Don't stop; don't even pause in your efforts. Keep us appraised of how we can support them.

  194. Who paid for the Kalamazoo River spill disaster cleanup? The taxpayers??? Why are the profiteering companies not paying???

  195. The pipeline company is paying.

  196. To MKM: I thought at first also the pipeline company was responsible for all clean up…reality is they are not. When it comes to a small business that is shut down because of the oil spill pollution or a farmer who can no longer grow crops, they have to take the oil company to court for economic damages. So yes, the pipeline company "cleans" up the visible oil, then us taxpayers, business owners, farmers are left to pick up the pieces of our communities (and pay for the damage).

  197. To Jane Kleeb - you have a gift for telling the truth and concluding a lie. The pipeline company pays damages for the disruptions to small business and local water supplies and so on, they go to court when the amount cannot be agreed. But the pipeline company pays.

  198. Taxpayers subsidize the Koch brothers projects because Congress gives away your money to greedy billionaires who are profiteering while polluting the environment.

  199. If Keystone XL is not built oil for China will go across Canada in a pipeline, and Canada will have to deal with with the damage. Oil for Texas refineries will probably go by train where disasters are public and visible instead of hiding underground until big enough to be obvious. Something will have to be done about safety of shipping by train (regulation, infrastructure maintenance of rails). Tar sands oil will not be sold in the US, it will be refined in Texas or Canada and sold in Asia and Europe from one of those contemptible Tax Free Zones.

    How does the ordinary US citizen benefit? Lots of well paid but temporary jobs building Keystone XL, some maintenance jobs, lawyers will be paid. If a lot of oil goes on the international market there's speculation that it may reduce the oil power of Russia and the Middle East, unless demand in China and India counter that effect.

    The future is with sustainable energy, tar sand oil is like killing the last whales.

  200. Many of these ranchers are card carrying members of the 1%er club. To compound their crimes they raise cattle, known polluters of the earth releasing kilotons of potent greenhouse gasses. It stretches the imagination to believe “progressives” care about these criminals.

  201. I'm no fan of the Canadian oil patch, which has its own dinosaur-head-in-the-sand attitude to blame for its current PR problems, but its a bit much to hear cattle ranchers lecturing others on the subject of climate change. According to the UN, livestock account for almost 15 per cent of human GHG emissions. Until ranchers switch to growing lentils or something else more environmentally benign, its pot calling kettle black.

  202. Buffalo were also ruminants emitting methane, and there were as many buffalo in 1800 as there are cattle today. Whatever their other shortcomings, cattlemen are no more guilty of contributing to the greenhouse gas problem than those who eat beef.

  203. It is amazing how most of red states who believe in states rights and private property rights then tell their citizens that the states will take away their property rights using public domain legislation on behalf of corporate interests. It is also amazing that the Canadian pipeline builders and owners have no liability to clean up any spills. I would ask just what rights do the property owners have?

  204. That's where the Second Amendment comes in, when rational moral discourse fails and the justice system becomes a stalking horse for corporate greed.

  205. Oh, the romance of environmental activism. I still prefer living in a country that's actually serious about improving the lives of its citizens with jobs, available energy, and economic growth. I'm describing the former USA.

  206. Our cities are replete with the detreous of corporate whim. The once booming cities like Lowell, MA and Detroit, MI stand as vivid examples of the ghost towns that proliferate as corporate greed bankrupts them. Let's fight back and save our nation!

  207. What bankrupted Detroit were decades of inept Democratic leadership and exorbitant demands from Detroit's public employee unions.

  208. To Lewis in Princeton, all municipalities and states have reneged on their fiduciary obligations to contracts they entered into with their service employees. it takes two to tango. Politicians should not enter into grand bargains they cannot fund because they have promised to hold down taxes to its constituents and then borrow from the Wall Street "Money Changers" to meet their obligations. Detroit's politicians sold their souls to the devil and no one held a gun to their heads when they agreed to the contract terms let alone not properly fund those contracts. Who held the guns to their heads was Wall Street when it came time to "pay the piper". Its time to stop dancing around the real problem our country faces or we will never solve the myriad of issues our country and our world faces in the short term. That problem is Corporations DO NOT pay their fair share of taxes in relationship to the rewards they reap and the problems they leave behind for future generations to solve. If more Corporations were threatened with the real possibility of losing their charters granted to them by "we the people" for not being good citizens, bad actors under the shield of incorporation would behave differently. But alas, that won't happen till money does not equal speech.