AN IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE . . . The Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board is asking for opinions about what their priorities should be in 2013. Suggestions can be emailed to oped [at] journalstar [dot] com. The deadline is Friday, January 18, 2013. Let them know your important issues, and be sure to include climate change in your message.
SCROLL DOWN for this week’s Keystone XL pipeline Update and Action Alert.
Lincoln area: Congressional District 1
VIGIL AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY . . . Every Monday, noon to 1:00pm, Nebraskans for abolition of the death penalty meet in front of the governor’s mansion when weather is good, 1425 H Street, Lincoln. When weather is bad, the vigil is inside the capitol, near the Information Desk. The lunch-hour presence reminds the governor of a constituency that does not want state killings. Weekly vigils have taken place year-round since July, 1991. All abolitionists are welcome to participate for a few minutes, or the hour.
LINCOLN PEACE VIGILS . . . Lincoln peace vigils continue at the Federal Building, 15th and O streets, every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:00pm. Contact Mark at 402.499.6672 or e-mail mark [at] weddleton [dot] com for more information.
OCCUPY EDUCATION LINCOLN . . . Occupy Education Lincoln and the Calvary United Methodist Church, 1610 South 11th Street, Lincoln, (corner of South 11th and Garfield Streets) will hold weekly Workshop/Skills Teaching Sessions, The Repair Cafe, every Thursday, starting at 5:30pm. (The time coincides with the start of FoodNet.) Toss It? No Way! Fix it, find another use, use some of its parts, recycle it, and say no to the throw away culture. Everything and everyone has value. We must discover the value. For more information, contact Barbara van den Berg, 402.488.6926, barbvandenberg [at] hotmail [dot] com.
HISTORY OF LINCOLN WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES . . . The History of Immigration and Refugee Resettlement in Lincoln will be discussed on Thursday, January 17, 2013, 7:00 to 8:30pm, in the Chapel at First-Plymouth Church, 2000 D Street. Sponsored by the Peace and Justice Team, Ed Zimmer, Historic Preservation Planner for the City, will speak on Lincoln’s remarkable history of welcoming immigrants as part of a three-part series, “Get to Know Your Neighbor: Immigrants and Refugees in Lincoln Today.” For more information, e-mail kim [at] firstplymouth [dot] org.
CHASING ICE AT ROSS . . . Chasing Ice, the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change, will show at the Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater, 313 North 13th Street, Lincoln, through Thursday, January 17, 2013. National Geographic photographer James Balog uses time-lapse cameras to compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.
OCCUPY LINCOLN . . . There is a calendar of Occupy Lincoln events here. The Facebook page is here. The Twitter feed is @OccupyLincoln. For more information, e-mail occupylincoln [at] gmail [dot] com or phone 402.585.5865. Corporate Greed is Revolution’s Seed!
Omaha area: Congressional District 2
OMAHA PEOPLE’S FILM FESTIVAL . . . There is a People’s Film Festival every Wednesday, 7:00pm, at McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe, 38th and Harney in Omaha. Wednesday, January 16, 2013, the film will be “Israel and Iran: Fact vs. Fear,” a lecture by political activist Ray McGovern. A 49 second trailer is here. The People’s Film Festival – Expanding Political Consciousness Since 2004.
OMAHA PEACE VIGILS . . . Every Saturday, 1:00-2:00pm, there is a Peace Vigil at the northwest corner of 72nd and Dodge Streets in Omaha. Park next to 72nd Street, in the pet store lot. Contact Steve Horn, 402.426.9068, for more information about Saturday vigils.
ATM LEAFLETTING IN OMAHA . . . An Alternatives To the Military supporter who lives in Omaha would like to put together and participate in a local leafletting group there. She wants to start small–maybe leafletting at just one or two schools. If you have an interest in joining a Omaha ATM group, please contact Kevin Haake, firstname.lastname@example.org. The FB link is http://www.facebook.com/atmlincoln. Twitter is http://www.twitter.com/ATMLincolnNE.
Leafletting in Omaha.
ENGAGE OMAHA . . . One of the nation’s first city-wide, virtual town hall websites, EngageOmaha, is now online. Omaha residents may weigh in on issues for the city to consider. Pick a topic, and join the mix at http://www.engageomaha.com/.
Greater Nebraska: Congressional District 3
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE UPDATE . . . Action: Please call Governor Heineman, 402.471.2244, and ask him to deny the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route because of the risks to our water and property rights. Ask that he waits until the lawsuit against the unconstitutional LB 1161 is decided in the courts. The best path forward is for him to deny the route and have the Public Service Commission, which has the true constitutional authority to analyze pipeline routes in our state, be the siting authority. Ask Heineman to turn the KXL route review over to the PSC. For more information, go to http://boldnebraska.org/stopkxl.
Following Tuesday morning’s 10:00am State of the State address at the State Capitol, the governor will hold a Tour of Nebraska Communities. This presents a good opportunity to meet him, express your concerns about the pipeline, and/or bring signs showing opposition to KXL. Citizens are welcome at all of the following locations, Tuesday, January 15, 2013.
1:00 p.m. – Johnson Conference Room, North Platte Regional Airport Terminal, 5400 E. Lee Bird Dr., North Platte.
2:15 p.m. – Otis Air Services at the Kearney Regional Airport, 4985 Airport Rd., in Kearney.
3:30 p.m. – Grand Island Central Nebraska Airport Terminal, 3743 SkyPark Road, Grand Island.
4:45 p.m. – Norfolk Airport Services Bldg., Karl Stefan Airport, 4100 S. 13th Street, in Norfolk.
Quoting “Cleanup not always possible,” by Cindy Myers, a Lincoln Journal Star letter to the editor published January 10th, “…From numerous testimonies at public hearings, it is clear water and the aquifer are key concerns. NDEQ continues to claim spills will remain “localized,” even though it is clear NDEQ does not have enough research on the Ogallala Aquifer to support that claim.
…This is the shortest route for TransCanada; it is not the best route for Nebraska. If the XL pipeline is forced upon our state, the only sensible option would be to stipulate that it parallel Keystone I in Eastern Nebraska. BOLD I urge people to please take the time to contact the decision-makers to make their opinions and concerns known.” UNBOLD
Please read the following Greg Awtry York News Times Editorial “Before one inch of the Keystone XL is laid in Nebraska soil,” and then contact your elected officials, including the governor. Awtry, Publisher of the York, Nebraska newspaper, published the piece on January 10th. “Governor Heineman said, “… I am not opposed to pipelines. We already have hundreds of them in our state. I am opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route because it is directly over the Ogallala Aquifer. ” How much clearer can the governor be? Since he wrote that letter to the president on Aug. 31, 2011, we all know the route has changed. Now it crosses even more miles of the aquifer than it did before! And, the governor is being asked to make a decision on the new route in the next 30 days.
Heineman’s letter goes on to say, “Maintaining and protecting Nebraska’s water supply is very important to me and the residents of Nebraska. This resource (the Ogallala Aquifer) is the lifeblood of Nebraska’s agricultural industry. Cash receipts from farm marketing contributes more than $17 billion to Nebraska’s economy annually. I am concerned that the proposed pipeline will potentially have detrimental effects on this valuable resource and Nebraska’s economy.”
Well governor, the federal government also has those same concerns. The new Pipeline Safety bill, passed by unanimous consent in both the U.S. House and the Senate, calls for a one-year study on the corrosiveness of DilBit, the type of oil that will flow through the Keystone XL. The new law also requires a two-year study on leak dejection.
How could Heineman possibly approve the route before these two studies are completed in 2013 and 2014, followed by a review process and the new regulations are in place to better protect Nebraska citizens, which Heineman says is very important to him?
The same is true of President Obama who signed the new Pipeline Safety bill. Both Heineman and Obama must wait until the studies are complete before this project goes any further.
To approve it now would send a clear message to families, villages and towns along this route. It would tell them money from a foreign corporation is more important than the safety of our citizens and the preservation of one of the world’s greatest wonders, the Ogallala Aquifer.
Right now, Gov. Heineman should neither approve nor disapprove this new route. He should come out and say he is unwilling under any circumstance to put fellow Nebraskans in danger or jeopardize the state’s economy, which is highly reliant on the aquifer. He should wait until everything that can be done is done, as a result of these two pending and extremely critical federal studies.
…What governor would put his or her citizens and the state’s economy at risk by approving this pipeline before all the facts from the federal and state studies are in? Is our governor willing to sell out our safety for a few pieces of silver?
If this is allowed to go through, sure there will be some temporary employment, but according to the DEQ summary report, once the pipe is in the ground and the construction process has moved out, there will be 15 jobs needed for operation and monitoring activities. That’s it folks, 15 jobs and a little property tax revenue after the dust settles.
That’s what Nebraska gets out of this. And at what price? How much is a pure Platte River worth? How much is the Ogallala Aquifer worth? What happens when it spills, and it will spill. Even TransCanada admits that. When it does, TransCanada stockholders will have their money at risk, not their lives and livelihoods.
Governor, do what you know in your heart is the right thing for Nebraskans. If you love this state like you say, then delay your decision. When all the studies are in, and the new regulations for safety are in place in 2015, and TransCanada checks off on all the new requirements, then and only then should you make a decision.
But for now governor, make sure you, as the highest elected official in our state, do everything in your power to first and foremost protect our citizens and resources. Let this process unfold as it should before one inch of that pipe is laid in Nebraska soil.”
“Tar Sands Crunch Time,” by William Boardman, Reader Supported News, January 8th, reports “The Alberta tar sands in Canada, like tar sands everywhere, do not contain oil. The near-solid bitumen in tar sands can be turned into a high-sulfur content oil by treatment with toxic chemicals, heat, and pressure. The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to transport over 700,000 barrels of hot tar sands oil under pressure every day, from Canada across the heartland of the United States to Gulf Coast refineries, from whence it will mostly go to overseas markets, especially China.”
An Alternet article, “The Wicked Brew That Would Be Transported in the Keystone XL Pipeline,” by Rand Clifford, January 7th, maintains “The pipeline isn’t for oil, it’s for a toxic fossil fuel cocktail called “DilBit.” Read page 1 of 4 at http://www.alternet.org/environment/wicked-brew-would-be-transported-keystone-xl-pipeline.
Both the New York Times and The Tyee, a newspaper out of British Columbia, reported on new findings linking tar sands to pollution and cancer on January 7th. For years, independent researchers have maintained that mining tar sands releases toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Now, a study funded by the Canadian government confirms that pollution from tar sands contaminated lakes as far as 55 miles away from the mining project.
From the New York Times article, “Oil Sands Industry in Canada Tied to Higher Carcinogen Level,” by Ian Austen: “The development of Alberta’s oil sands has increased levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes well beyond natural levels, Canadian researchers reported in a study released on Monday. And they said the contamination covered a wider area than had previously been believed.” The article includes a must-see photograph of an oil sands mine in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
From The Tyee, “It’s Official: Bitumen Mining Pollutes Northern Waterways,” by Andrew Nikiforuk: “A new federally funded study on the tar sands has confirmed what a discredited industry-funded monitoring program could not: that pollution has now contaminated lakes as far as 90 km away from the massive mining project.”
Save the Date: Governor Heineman Reject the Route Vigil Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 6:00pm, at the governor’s mansion, 1425 H Street, Lincoln. For details about plans from 6:00am throughout the day, click here. The Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/events/411512762257892/.
It is time for President Obama to draw a line in the tar sands, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Click here to sign a CredoAction petition to President Obama. The petition reads: “If you are committed to fighting climate change, you must reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. You simply cannot have it both ways.” If you are on Facebook, click here to post the petition to your Wall. If you have a Twitter account, click here to automatically tweet. Tell @BarackObama: You can’t have it both ways on climate change. Reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Sign a Natural Resources Defense Council Action Alert telling Congress to reject all attempts to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by attaching it to any unrelated legislation. The Keystone XL will deliver billions in profits to Big Oil while the people get stuck with poisoned water, contaminated land and an overheated planet.
Dear President Obama: 171 reasons to deny the pipeline.
“The Keystone pipeline will spew a massive amount of carbon pollution into our fragile atmosphere. It should be stopped. ” –Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party Presidential Nominee.
STOP FRACKING NOW . . . 4 Scary New Finds About Fracking, by Tara Lohan for Alternet, adds to the continually growing list of warnings about fracking.
From “Five Effects of Fracking You May Not Know About” by Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet: “What comes to mind when you think of fracking? Perhaps it’s images of tap water being lit on fire or stories of families suffering health problems after nearby wells are fracked. Indeed, the health and environmental impacts of fracking are being documented, but it’s important to know that fracking is a catalyst for widespread negative consequences.” Petition Congress: “We, the undersigned, call on Congress to pass the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act this year. It’s time to hold the oil and gas production industry to the same standards as any other industry to ensure the safe protection of America’s drinking water.”
A new article, “Fracking Our Food Supply,” was published by Reader Supported News, and Truthout published “Fracking’s Health Calamaties Left to Fester,” both on December 1, 2012.
BUY FRESH. BUY LOCAL . . . . Farmers, gardeners, and craftspeople meet through The Nebraska Food Cooperative, an on-line, year-round farmers’ market and local food distribution service offering the best in local freshness. For ordering and pickup schedules, refer to the calendar here. Click here for products and prices from North Star Neighbors, a Cooperative member that doesn’t therapeutically medicate or unduly confine animals. Click here for Tomato Tomäto, Omaha’s year-round indoor Farmer’s Market at 156th & West Center. Shop for fresh foods grown in or very near your own community at Open Harvest, Lincoln’s member-owned natural foods retail cooperative at 1618 South Street. Buying local grows family farming, grows the local economy, and is thousands of miles fresher.
HELP NEBRASKA GREENS WITH GOODSEARCH . . . Each time you search the Internet (or shop online at a participating store), a donation can be made to Nebraska Green Party at no cost to you! To help NGP in this way, enter Nebraska Green Party where it asks you to name your cause at http://www.goodsearch.com/default.aspx. Bookmark the GoodSearch Homepage, or make it your own Home Page. Enter the url you want in the GoodSearch search box. Each time you do, one penny will be donated to Nebraska Greens. THANK YOU for your support!
Remember, every man-made by-product of the petroleum industry could be replaced by hemp. “Help Save the Earth, Time to Substitute Hemp for oil.“