Death penalty repeal: 2015 could be the year!

From Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty:

Last week, Senator Ernie Chambers introduced his bill to repeal the death penalty. This will be Senator Chambers’ 38th go at abolishing the death penalty. Let’s make it his last one! After a near win in 2013 and two years of organizing to make sure our new legislators understand why our death penalty fails us, we have great reason for optimism!

Read more and learn how you can help.

Next Omaha Green Drinks Jan. 28

Here’s everything you need to know about the next world-famous Green Drinks get-together in Omaha:

  • WHEN: 5:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, January 28, 2015
  • RULE: Fourth Wednesday of every odd month (Jan., Mar., May, Jul., Sep., and Nov.)
  • WHERE: Whole Foods Market Omaha, 10020 Regency Circle; education room by restaurant seating, across from coffee bar.
  • HOW: Walk, cycle, bus, carpool :)
  • WHO: Anyone working on environmental issues (green business, architecture, design, clean energy, natural resources, and more) or studying them.
  • WHY: Fun, contacts, alcohol (and non-alcohol), info, gossip, inspiration, business, and pleasure.
  • NEW: Just go up to someone and say “are you green?” and you’ll be made welcome.
  • REMIND: We have a send-only email circulation list for both Omaha & Lincoln; to get on it, send an email to p2ricinfo@gmail.com with subject “subscribe”
  • PRIVACY: This email list is ONLY for Green Drinks reminders.
  • STATUS: Informal, self-organizing network. Continued growth and learning at every meeting. Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge with others.
  • Check out the Green Drinks Facebook page.
  • Join this Facebook event.

Harrington Sisters Defend Tradition in Keystone Pipeline Fight

From The New York Times:

BRADSHAW, Neb. — An unpainted wooden barn sits in a snow-dusted cornfield along a gravel road, one of many that dot the rural horizon here.

This barn, however, contains no horses, tractors or farming tools. Its roof is covered with solar panels, there is a windmill out front, and the interior is plastered with signs with slogans like “Build Our Energy” and “#NOKXL,” in protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could run under the property if President Obama approves the project.

The 1,179-mile pipeline, first proposed in 2008, would carry oil from Canada into the United States, connecting with existing pipelines in southern Nebraska. In Congress, the Senate continues to debate a bill to approve the pipeline, and the House has already passed a bill to approve its construction.

Four Harrington sisters — Abbi, Terri, Jenni and Heidi — grew up in the 1960s and ’70s tending livestock and crops here, and three of them have remained in Nebraska and continue to farm the land. They fear that construction of the pipeline could threaten their livelihood and a family farming tradition that dates back about 150 years, to when their great-great-grandfather settled on the plot.

Their wind- and solar-powered barn, constructed in 2013 after activists raised thousands of dollars online, was built as an unsubtle protest against the pipeline, a physical barrier along the proposed path.

Read the full story.

Uncertainty following Nebraska court ruling on KXL

From Domina Law Group:

David Domina: “Since last Friday, I’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of news stories saying that a hurdle to TransCanada’s construction was removed. Any thoughtful reading of the Supreme Court’s opinion clearly discloses that’s not the case. Nebraska landowners have not had a fifth judge, as is required by our state constitution, vote on the validity of Nebraska’s statute. What we do know is that every Nebraska judge who has cast a vote on that question has been with the property owners.”

Watch the full video explainer on YouTube.

#NOKXL Rally at Rep. Ashford’s Office Tuesday

From BOLD Nebraska:

Rep. Brad Ashford says we need to build the Keystone Pipeline and get on to bigger questions about the environment. Here in Nebraska, you would think that protecting the Ogallala Aquifer and the Sandhills would be the biggest environmental concern of our elected officials.

If you agree, come join Omaha Pipeline Fighters supported by Bold Nebraska at noon tomorrow in front of Brad Ashford’s Omaha office to express your disappointment over his vote to support the Keystone Pipeline:

  • WHAT: #NOKXL Rally at Rep. Brad Ashford’s Office
  • WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m
  • WHERE: 7126 Pacific Street (next to Clancy’s Pub)

Click here to RSVP so the organizers know you’re coming.

Keystone XL job gains: A sick joke

From The New York Times:

It should come as no surprise that the very first move of the new Republican Senate is an attempt to push President Obama into approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canadian tar sands. After all, debts must be paid, and the oil and gas industry — which gave 87 percent of its 2014 campaign contributions to the G.O.P. — expects to be rewarded for its support.

But why is this environmentally troubling project an urgent priority in a time of plunging world oil prices? Well, the party line, from people like Mitch McConnell, the new Senate majority leader, is that it’s all about jobs.

Read the full article.

After Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, Keystone XL is up to Obama

From BOLD Nebraska:

In a split decision, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled on Friday to allow LB 1161 to stand. Four of the seven justices sided with landowners, but we needed five to win — as a “supermajority” of concurring justices is required when constitutional issues are raised.

The Nebraska Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that stated the Unicameral and Governor used an illegal routing process for the Keystone XL pipeline.

TransCanada is left with a risky route to defend. The decision is now in Pres. Obama’s hands. This is a bad day for property rights in Nebraska. Private, foreign corporations now know they can buy their way through our state.

This ruling does clear the way for the State Department to complete their analysis and for federal agencies to weigh in on risks to water and climate.

We are confident the President will stand with farmers, ranchers and tribal communities and reject Keystone XL once and for all.

Read more, including legal analysis, from BOLD Nebraska.

Read the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.

Tell Rep. Ashford to Vote NO on KXL

From BOLD Nebraska:

Nebraskans saw an opportunity to change the status quo in November when they elected Brad Ashford to represent them in Washington, giving the boot to Republican Rep. Lee Terry — who had served as the top cheerleader for the Keystone XL pipeline in Congress.

Farmers and ranchers who live in the proposed path of Keystone XL have shared with us the many trite “form letters” they have received from Rep. Terry, Senators Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns, and the rest of Nebraska’s all-Republican Congressional delegation, demonstrating that their very real and valid concerns about protecting our land and water from the risky Keystone XL pipeline fell on deaf ears of their elected representatives.

We now call on Rep. Ashford to provide leadership and bring common sense to Nebraska’s Congressional delegation, and vote against the bill to fast-track Keystone XL.

Read more and sign the petition.

Legal analysis: Nebraska and Oklahoma take Colorado to the Supreme Court over legalized marijuana

From Patients for Medical Cannabis:

Earlier this month, the Attorneys General of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit on behalf of their respective states, naming the state of Colorado as the defendant. Nebraska and Oklahoma allege that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana undermines their ability to maintain their own prohibitions of marijuana because Colorado takes inadequate measures to prevent legal intrastate marijuana from crossing state borders, where it enters the illegal market. Taking advantage of a provision of the Constitution covering cases “in which a State shall be Party,” Nebraska and Oklahoma filed their complaint in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado raises a number of important procedural and substantive questions, including these: Does Colorado’s marijuana legalization violate federal law or does it merely fail to enforce federal law? And given the essential role that the federal marijuana prohibition plays in the plaintiff states’ case, should the lawsuit be dismissed on the ground that their real complaint lies with the federal government, not Colorado?

Read full analysis.

On Nebraska’s Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

From NPR:

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska’s York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you’ll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it’s a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

Pipeline opponents built the barn two summers ago. And at first, says Jenni Harrington, one of those opponents, “I think a lot of the neighbors didn’t like the barn. They thought it was like poking TransCanada in the eye.

“It took me aback because I was like, ‘Well, what do you think they’re doing, walking on our land and saying, ‘Hey, we’re gonna put a pipeline through it’?”

Read or listen to the two-part radio story.