Kleeb: “This is an issue that has brought out the ‘no more’ in a wide range of people.” Courtesy Mary Anne Anderi/
Kleeb: “This is an issue that has brought out the ‘no more’ in a wide range of people.” Courtesy Mary Anne Anderi/

The fight against the Keystone pipeline is focused this week on a bunch of farmers in Nebraska whose lawsuit thus far has won a round in state court, delayed a decision by President Barack Obama on allowing the line to cross the U.S.-Canada border, and apparently has TransCanada, the company that owns the pipeline, worried.

In the past four years, landowners, indigenous people, climate-change scientists, and environmentalists from Canada to South Texas have battled the tar sands expansion. Despite those protests, the southern leg of the pipeline was completed and is now in operation.

But in Nebraska, the landowners’ suit against TransCanada’s use of eminent domain could cause a rerouting of another section of the line, forcing a delay and giving opponents in both Canada and this country more time to make their case that tar sands mining and transportation could spell environmental disaster with no major economic benefit.


In late February a district court in Lancaster, Neb., declared unconstitutional a 2012 state law allowing TransCanada to use eminent domain to seize private land. The company immediately appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

If that court upholds the lower court ruling, TransCanada could no longer take by force the land it needs for easements. Buying the land on the market could take a long time if it can be done at all, plus time for a new environmental impact report.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling called Obama’s April 18 decision inexplicable. “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay,” Girling said in a press release.

His frustration is understandable, since opposition keeps spreading. A few days ago, 10 Nobel Laureates, including former President Jimmy Carter and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry urging them to deny permission for the pipeline on moral grounds. This week, hundreds of Native Americans will join ranchers and farmers in Washington, D.C., for protests.

TransCanada has been aggressively trying to counter those sentiments. Shortly after the Nebraska ruling, the giant energy company unleashed a barrage of TV and radio ads touting the pipeline’s allegedly vital role in U.S. national security, energy independence, and economic recovery.

“TransCanada is putting a lot of pressure on landowners … to sell them easements,” said Jane Kleeb, a founder of “But there are a lot of farmers out here who don’t want it, no matter how much money is being offered.”

She said offers that started at $15,000 for an easement have jumped to nearly $200,000.

“Oh, there’s plenty of pressure on us,” said Art Tanderup, a farmer whose family has been working the same land for more than 100 years. “They’re offering a lot of money for the easements they need. But I’ve been a teacher and a farmer all my life, and I’m not used to being rich, so we’ll get by without the bonus money TransCanada is offering.”

Shannon Graves’ husband’s family has lived in the same home for 130 years. She also said that the money, while tempting, won’t change her mind.

“Look at what happened in Mayflower, Arkansas, with that tar sands leak. Look at the Kalamazoo River leak,” she said. “If that happened here, it would ruin the house. And five generations have grown up here, so it’s personal for us.”

In Michigan, a tar sands spill in July 2010 sent nearly a million gallons of diluted bitumen — tar sands infused with benzene and other gases to make it light enough to be moved through a pipeline — into Talmadge Creek and from there into the Kalamazoo River, poisoning a 40-mile stretch. Some sections are still not cleaned up.

In Mayflower, Ark., a pipe rupture in March 2013 sent as much as 500,000 gallons of tar sands bitumen through a section of town, forcing evacuations. Many homes remain uninhabitable.

Only about 115 landowners are holding out, but Kleeb said that about half the state’s population opposes the pipeline.

“We’ve got people all over the state energized,” she said. “Some are focused on the climate change that development of the tar sands will cause; some are worried about the water. A lot of people just don’t think it’s right to let a foreign company take our land for their profit.”

Kleeb and others in her group have been speaking about the tar sands and the pipeline since 2010. “We’ve held hundreds of meetings with local people, and we give them the real information about the risks of tar sands and how it’s different from conventional oil,” she said, “but it’s still an uphill battle when you’re fighting TransCanada, which spent over a million dollars lobbying our state representatives in the last year and millions more on advertising.”

“Everyone has their own issues with the pipeline,” said Jenni Harrington, whose family has been farming the same acreage in Nebraska for more than a century. “For us, the big concern is water. We have incredible farming here because of our water supply, and the risk to the Ogallala aquifer is enormous. Some people have irrigation wells in the pipeline path. If there is any failure in that pipeline that wound up going into an irrigation well, that would be a direct line to the aquifer.”

Faith Spotted Eagle, a member of the Ihanktonwan (pronounced Yankton) Dakota-Nakota Sioux, said that thousands of Native Americans see waterway pollution a major reason to oppose the Keystone. “So many bands live directly over the Ogallala aquifer and will be devastated if the tar sands gets into that,” she said.

Spotted Eagle also said the pipeline will pass through thousands of Native American burial sites and sacred places. She noted that the two treaties from the 1800s “called for [protection of] both the reservation and a larger circle of land around that in which we could do our hunting and other things.” The pipeline, would go through the larger treaty area. “The treaty is still in effect. We want it upheld.”

She plans to be part of the protest in Washington, D.C. this week.

“We’re not backing down on this one,” she said. “This is a unifying event … . When we saw the devastation to our tribal relatives in Canada due to the tar sands development, it unified us. And we are unifying with white people as well because of the issue of the Ogallala aquifer.”

TransCanada spokesman Davis Sheremata told Fort Worth Weekly, “We have dealt with many issues related to this project in the past and are confident we can overcome this latest hurdle.”

Kleeb said there is a lot of anger in Nebraska. “These farmers never imagined their livelihoods could be threatened by a pipeline. But there is hope as well, hope that we [can] stop this corporation from buying off politicians for a project that will threaten everything we have,” she said. “This is an issue that has brought out the ‘no more’ in a wide range of people.”

“We don’t like being turned into an alleyway for TransCanada to move their tar sands to the Texas coast to ship it overseas,” said Graves. “And we … don’t like TransCanada pulling eminent domain on landowners, claiming it’s for the greater good.”

A Nebraska Supreme Court decision could take several months.

“That just gives us more time to educate people,” said Kleeb.


  1. Easements, shmeesements! Round up these people that keep refusin’ tuh sell their land and put ’em out somewhere in a camp behind a 10 foot barbed wire fence with armed security personnel, guard towers, searchlights and barking Dobermans. Feed ’em nuthin’ but gruel! Slap ’em around a little bit! Make ’em git up at the crack of dawn and force them to go out and bust rocks in the hot sun all day. See whut happens then! They’s gonna sell! I goddamn guarantee it! Now let’s git to it! That tar sand line’s goin’ through whether or not you pablum puking Ralph Nader goofballs that wanna go out and have sex with farm animals in the street and teach evolution in our public schools want it or not! Commies! Pinkos! Libbtards!

  2. Zip zip bang bang ubba ubba! If you wanna cross over this bridge then you had better bring some gold coins next time you little twerp!

  3. Lol Gregg Orange looks like you are mentally challenged, I suggest you keep on taking your prescriptions that you suggested to me in your other comment 😉

  4. You again. You retro conservative types are so prevalent around here, just like swarms of flies buzzing around the picnic table when the weather heats up on the back patio and you are trying to serve your guests fajitas and margaritas. Go back to the dog crap piles in the neighbor’s yard.

    • You are so funny! Keep up the good work, and great job on showing how nice Democrats are! you are a good example of how every democrat’s brain functions, their brains are almost close to brain dead, I mean just look at your comments 🙂 lol

  5. I’m not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am not a Libertarian. I am not a Tea Partier, either. Stop trying to pigeonhole me into some kind of easily identifiable political affiliation in your typical knee jerk fashion. It’s all about money in this country, stop trying to kid yourself into thinking that anybody in our political arena cares about anything else but money. It’s all about maintaining the status quo, keeping the corporate profit margins up, keeping the CEO’s rich, keeping the fat cats from playing by the rules, keeping the middle class in check, exploiting the workforce, etc. All a politician does once he/she attains political office is to immediately begin to start securing funds for their reelection campaigns. They are all in the pocket of special interest groups, big money powers, lobbyists, big business, etc. Nobody cares about you or me or our personal welfare unless there is money involved. Go flip on the TV in your living room, watch American Idol, drink your Bud Light, eat your Cheetos Puffs, microwave some preprocessed slop for dinner and continue to amuse yourself with your political leanings. You’ll figure it out one of these days.

    • You are an extremely dull person, Capitalism allows the poor to become rich, I have a family member who came here to the USA (more specifically Oklahoma) and she worked her butt off in school, and took jobs in order to save up money to go into college, eventually she got a degree In her profession (not sure what she got a degree in) and now she lives a good life, and owns a restaurant chain.

      “Its all about money in this country” and the world, the only reason there are schools is so people can get educated to go into the workforce if you have no type of education the likeliness of you being accepted into a job plunges. If you do not have an education then most of the info that these people provide are more than likely opinions from other people.

      The reason why I keep calling you a democrat is because for one you keep making childish comments about republicans (well you use stereotypes) and people who make fun off one side (which is what you are doing) send a message to people like me about them supporting the opposing side (I thought you would catch that but then again you seem to lack brain power).

      You might have to clear up your position on “big businesses” because business employ people and provide them with jobs, if employees feel that they are not being paid enough or are dissatisfied with working conditions in a certain job, well guess what! This is a capitalist country! Not socialist or communist! You can quit your job and find another one! if you lack an education well sucks to be you, no one told you to slack off in school, and since you slacked off no one is going to baby you by providing you with things that only people who care about their life should deserve.

      Sorry to break it to you but this whole world revolves on money, you cannot do anything without money, non profit organizations depend on money, people depend on money in order to buy things. If you oppose this than you lean more towards a communist view (you feel as if the government should provide everyone with everything and not allow people to have a higher image than others, fyi this hasn’t work in the past so I have no idea how this can work in the present)

      So going to my main point your comments influence me to make assumptions of what side you are in support of, and even this comment that I am replying to makes it seem as if you support the democratic side because your views seem to be leaning towards socialism or communism.

      In a communist society the government provides everyone with everything such as food, housing, etc. Humans will never settle for being the same as the next person. A person who had to go to school in order to become a doctor doesn’t deserve to live in a house where a person who works as a janitor is getting the same things as him/her. In a communist society capitalism is non existent and if everyone gets an education, well more than likely everyone has an average education so these people create average things and these people’s productivities are average, and there are no poor or rich people everyone is the same and everyone is just an average person.

      In a socialist society people are provided similar services by the government but everyone has to pay taxes, and if you are poor and the government is providing you with everything well that sounds good! but wait, since everyone has to pay taxes, how will this effect the poor? well these people ever be able to get out of the cycle of poverty since they will just give most of their income to the government? Well the answer is NO. Lets look at a country where people speak Français et where fatty Tuesday was invented (Mardi Gras) yes I am talking about France! When you go to any city in France, you see no trace of poverty, everything is just butterflies and rainbows, but once you go to the suburbs of France, bam! poverty everywhere! I though socialism would help the poor? why isn’t socialism doing what people say it does? search up poor suburbs in France and open your eyes for once.

      @ the last part of your comment:
      Sorry I have other productive things to do than to watch tv, I don’t drink, and I do not consume processed foods but I do hope that you enjoy your time by wasting it on tv while eating sloppy food 🙂

      fyi: I do not mind writing all of this, it takes me less than 2 minutes to type a whole paper, or maybe that is still to much its probably around 1 min with something seconds… but I enjoy debating an idiotic person who has no idea what they are talking about 🙂

  6. I don’t care how fast you typed your term theme paper. You want a medal? Yaaaayyy! We did it, we did it….yeah!! Your comments on the realities of world economics sound like they came right out of a freshman level college macroeconomics course textbook. All you are doing with many of your statements is reaffirming what I stated previously, i.e., that it’s all about money in this country. You go on to state that it is all about money everywhere in the entire world. Duh! Then you try to equate my political beliefs with communism or socialism. You are the dull one. You are obviously incapable of taking any of my statements for anything other than pure face value. Shallow, very shallow. France? I don’t want to live in France. France holds no fascination for me whatsoever. Everybody who has ever been there including my father, mother and wife have all basically told me in so many words that it is a dump. It stinks and people crap and piss in the street. How long did it take Nazi Germany to bowl through that country in the beginning stages of WWII? About 2 weeks, wasn’t it? Even the Rolling Stones said that the people were rude and the food was greasy. Obviously you cannot read between the lines per se and comprehend the dry sarcasm inherent in many of my posts. I haven’t discovered a perfect system of government yet, have you? Capitalism in itself doesn’t have to be heartless and serve only the needs of the top 2% wealthiest citizens in a particular country or world economic environment in which it is firmly established as long as there is a system of checks and balances to keep it from completely exploiting the workforce and turning the other 98% wage earners into slave labor. Do we really want 9 year old kids working in factories for pennies an hour performing 16 hour shifts to make corporate execs even more rich? Unfortunately as the decades have gone by in this country, especially since the debacle of the Nixon administration, economic policies have been continuously put forth that have firmly enacted corporate consolidation over our lives. Benito Mussolini himself even said that a system of absolute corporate consolidation controlling the economy of any country is the ultimate form of fascism. I see the situation getting worse and worse. Huge corporate mergers, buyouts and takeovers are severely limiting competition in the marketplace. Congress blindly seems to go along with every single huge merger because they want to claim that any government interference in such affairs is basically unethical and unconstitutional. I say that most of the “elected officials” in Congress are firmly in the pocket of all of these big money interests and are blindly voting “yea” for these huge mergers and such because they know where the real power lies. Rocking the boat means jeapordising their reelection campaigns. Your turn. Let’s read some more insulting jibberish about me being some kind of closet pinko or commie or something. I will go consume a 16 oz. tallboy beer and have a few slices of leftover Parton’s pizza to prime myself for the coming defamatory remarks that I am sure will be directed this way. Feel better?

    • Lol I like you reactions, you are sooo worth my time! I always come here just to see what idiotic thing you will post 🙂 FYI if you are an independent than stop taking sides, just like I mentioned before, since you keep using stereotypes to imitate republicans, this makes everyone else believe that you support one side over the other.

      Oh and your comments make you seem as if you are a high school drop out, who got high of off drugs. 🙂

    • Maybe the beer is affecting your brain, you should get that checked out, and like I mentioned time after time I am not insulting you, I am just pointing out what you are….. *cough cough* and idiot….

  7. I may not be able to answer very many $2000.00 questions on championship Jeopardy but, I can most assure you that I am not an idiot. You should also take the time to proofread your remarks and double check them for grammatical and spelling mistakes. It makes you look like an idiot that dropped out of High School and attempted to support yourself selling methamphetamine manufactured out of a mobile home bathtub in rural Palo Pinto county. Then you probably did a few years down in the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Tx., for manufacture with intent to distribute the stuff in High School parking lots.That’s okay, though. We understand. You finally got an “education” while you were down there….an “education” in being a shower punk. That’s more than likely where you got your political views, too.

    • ” I can most assure you that I am not an idiot”

      Well first off you shouldn’t be criticizing my “grammatical and spelling mistakes” because you did the exact same thing in your previous comments (look at the comments you posted at the start, yes I am referring to the comments you made by utilizing stereotypes in order to demonstrate to the world how dull you are), so again this proves that you are an “idiot”, secondly all of your comments just demonstrate how stupid you are because you lack basic knowledge on the definition of certain words, if you were actually a highly intelligent person you would acknowledge that your views support socialism (and most of your comments are anti-capitalism).

      I tried to demonstrate to you what the definition of socialism and communism is but it seems as if your puny brain could not absorb all of the overwhelming amount of information. (but that’s okay because we all know that you get drunk before posting these comments, I mean just look at the ones you posted at the start of most of these topics, you are either mentally challenged or just high)

      You also have no idea what an Independent is because according to you, you do not support the republican or democratic side but yet you participate in debates that involve topics that Independents would avoid, but then again your parents would feed you glue, so your brain is probably severely damaged by all the chemicals that are inserted into the glue.

      I just love your stupidity and ignorance towards everything, like I said before you make the lamest/ ironically most hilarious responses that I have ever read! If you ever went to school, it is really noticeable that you gave no effort into giving prior attention towards your education, like I mentioned hundreds of times, you lack basic knowledge on many topics that you are obviously unfamiliar with.

      My suggestion to you is to go back to school, do something productive in life, learn what common sense is, slap your self, pour gas over your house and set it on fire.

  8. More one sided drivel from an obviously very easily led and influenced plastic robot chump with a bar code stamped on his forehead. Good evening, squarehead. Just relax and enjoy it. The warden is actually in on it so there’s no use in fighting it, son. Just bend over and spread your cheeks for the man. It’s easier that way.

  9. Ogallala Aquifer? It is one of, if not the biggest aquifer(s) in the Midwest. Does a massive amount of clean fresh water have any importance. Or are we ok with drinking oil and chemicals with a little bit of water mixed in? How does a FOREIGN company get imminent domain?

    Come to that how is it almost nobody has ever heard of the Ogallala Aquifer. It is important across all monetary and political boundaries.

    A lot of people say everything is going to be destroyed anyway… So what, are we to hasten the process? All the while cheering and clapping our hands like so many gleeful fools?