A group of farmers and ranchers from Nebraska spent some time in handcuffs Wednesday after joining the Sierra Club and others outside the White House in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.
The farmers are Bold Nebraska supporters who have partnered with Nebraska Sierra Club and Nebraska Farmers Union for a week of meetings with the US State Department and various Members of Congress to express the ongoing concerns of risks to U.S. water, soil and property rights. The week concludes with a rally on Sunday, called Forward on Climate.
Reuters reports 48 protesters asking Obama to reject Keystone XL and begin serious action on climate change were arrested and released on $100 bail. Of the 48, four are associated with Nebraska's cattle industry: Randy Thompson, James Tarnick, Abbi Kleinschmidt, and Susan Luebbe.
Below are quotes from each:
"I am a Nebraska cattleman and landowner. I am fighting against the KXL pipeline for two very basic reasons. First of all, I feel very strongly that this pipeline represents an assault on the individual property rights of American citizens. There is something inherently wrong about the idea of American landowners being forced to subsidize the private enterprise of a foreign corporation with land that their families have earned through generations of hard work and determination. Secondly, I feel that the KXL presents a real threat to some of our nation's most valuable natural resources, especially our rivers, streams and underground aquifers. These are priceless American assets that no amount of oil money, foreign or otherwise, could ever replace." – Randy Thompson, cattle buyer, face of the pipeline campaign in Nebraska "Stand with Randy."
"I started out fighting the pipeline because it was coming on my land and close to the family farm house and livestock wells. However, through what I have learned these past 6-7 months I am against it even more because it will impact us negatively economically in the long run and there are way to many ways it can harm our environment. Landowners have been bullied by TC as our political leaders have looked the other way. It is time to and this is an outstanding way to rise up against big money and say 'We aren't going anywhere. Ever!'" – James Tarnick, young farmer and rancher, proposed pipeline route comes within 50 feet of his house.
"I am fighting the pipeline because I believe it is my duty to stand up for Mother Earth and the health and well-being of all human beings and NOT allow a slimy, rich, foreign oil company to come in and cut through the heart of America. I cannot think of a more heartless act!! I am fortunate to live in a society where I have the right and can speak up for what I believe in. What this situation reminds of more than anything is what our ancestors did to the Native Americans. We came in and told them lies, cheated them, and moved them off of their land. I believe that TransCanada is capable of doing the same sort of thing, especially if there was a sizable tar sands spill. That company is ruthless, relentless, has an endless supply of money and only wants what is good for them. Since our politicians aren't willing to take the appropriate stand, then power to the people and I would be one of those." – Abbi Kleinschmidt, 5th generation farmer in the route of the pipeline.
"As a 3rd generation cowgirl from the Sand Hills of Nebraska I have worked hard with others to get KXL off our ranch. I want to take this risk of arrest with many other landowners, and indigenous tribal members from Canada through the United States to end this fight. I want to make an impact in this fight for residents of Canada's tar sands region to Eleanor Fairchild's Texas property. TransCanada's project cuts right through the heart of environmental sensitive land and cultural history. I want the future generation to see what it takes to fight for something so precious that our ancestors worked so hard to build for all of us." – Susan Luebbe: rancher, featured in Pipe Dreams documentary, one of the landowners in the lawsuit against the state of Nebraska on the pipeline route and eminent domain authority.
The pipeline has been waiting for approval for 4 ½ years. If approved, it would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil from northern Alberta to refineries and ports in Texas.