All posts by Shane Pekny

Keystone XL public hearing May 3 in York

From BOLD Nebraska:

The Nebraska Public Service Commission has not yet announced any additional public meetings on the Keystone XL pipeline route other than  Wednesday, May 3, in York at the Holthus Convention Center. So this is your next opportunity to make your voice heard on KXL. Speakers are limited to five minutes; first-come, first-serve.

(The formal intervenor hearings Aug. 7-11 in Lincoln are also expected to include an opportunity for public testimony, at the end of the week).

  • Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Ave, York
  • Wednesday, May 3, 2017
  • Doors open at 8 a.m.; hearing from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • A rally and press conference are planed for noon to 1:30 p.m.

RSVP through BOLD Nebraska.

Join the Facebook event.

Lincoln Climate March draws hundreds

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

More than 200 protesters gathered Saturday morning to voice their concerns about climate change and its lack of acceptance by the public and elected officials.

Participants marched from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union to the State Capitol before gathering at The Bourbon Theatre. The event was one of more than 300 satellite marches across the globe.

John Atkeison, the lead organizer of the Lincoln march, said the protest was meant to get the attention of more than just elected officials.

“The main motivating force for dealing with change is at the grass roots,” he said. “The politicians that are in power now don’t address the problem. They’ve been doing little or nothing about it.”

Read the full story.

LB 461: Regressive tax cuts that fix nothing

From Open Sky Policy Institute:

LB 461, the tax-cut package put forth by the Revenue Committee, is first and foremost an income tax cut for wealthy Nebraskans and the proposal does little to truly address property tax relief. In fact, LB 461 is fundamentally flawed in a way that makes it more likely to exacerbate, not help, Nebraska’s reliance on property taxes to fund K-12 education. Furthermore, some Nebraskans would actually pay more in overall taxes under LB 461.

Read the full policy brief.

Liquor Commission denies licenses for Whiteclay beer sellers

From the Omaha World-Herald:

Frank LaMere finally got the decision he’s been waiting for.

For two decades, he’s called for an end to alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska, due to the dreadful consequences.

On Wednesday, a state liquor board voted 3-0 to end the long-controversial beer sales in Whiteclay, an unincorporated village known as the “Skid Row of the Plains” that sells millions of cans of beer each year to residents of the officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“I think today that the Oglala Lakota people won. I think Nebraskans won. We’ll be better for it in this state,” said LaMere, a Native American activist from South Sioux City.

Read the full story.

Upcoming marches: Support science and climate action, demand Trump’s tax returns

Tax March: Demanding the release of President Trump’s tax returns.

Lincoln Tax March

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017, 12 p.m.
  • Nebraska State Capitol Building
  • 1445 K Street
  • Lincoln, NE  68508

Omaha Tax March

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017, 1 p. m.
  • Turner Park
  • 3101 Dodge Street
  • Omaha, NE 68131

March for Science: Supporting the scientific method and evidence-based policies.

March for Science – Lincoln

  • Saturday, April 22, 2017, 3 – 4 p.m.
  • Nebraska Union, 1400 R Street
  • Marching from the Union through Centennial Mall to the Nebraska State Capitol

March for Science – Omaha

  • Saturday, April 22, 2017, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Marching from Elmwood Park to Stinson Park

March for Science, Climate, and Social Justice – Hastings

  • Saturday, April 22, 2017, 12:30 – 2 p.m.
  • Hastings, NE

People’s Climate March: Standing up for the climate, for jobs, and for justice.

People’s Climate March, Lincoln

  • Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10:30am
  • Nebraska State Capitol Building
  • 1445 K Street
  • Lincoln, NE

People’s Climate March, Omaha

2016 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka has accepted our invitation to speak at the Omaha event, starting at noon. The march will start at 2 p.m.

  • Saturday, April 29, 2017, 12:00pm
  • Gene Leahy Mall
  • 1302 Farnam
  • Omaha, NE

Tell the Nebraska Public Service Commission: Consider climate in KXL decision

From 350.org:

In Nebraska, there is still no permitted route for Keystone. Eighty-five landowners are refusing to give up their land to make way for the pipeline, and thousands more people are rallying to deny TransCanada their Nebraska permit for Keystone XL. They’re asking pipeline fighters from across the United States to support these efforts by submitting comments to Nebraska’s Public Service Commission urging them to include climate in their assessment and oppose the permit.

If built, this pipeline would poison our climate, air, water, land and communities, and violate Indigenous rights. Take action now to urge the Nebraska Public Service Commission to consider climate in their assessment of whether Keystone XL is in the public interest and to deny the permit for the project.

Send a message to the Commission via 350.org

Nebraska voter ID proposal harms democracy, solves nothing

From the Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board:

There is a common phrase employed in legislative debates: This is a solution looking for a problem.

Cliches become clichés precisely because there’s a kernel of truth at their center. In this case, a voter ID measure — LR1CA offered by Sen. John Murante of Gretna, requiring a photo ID to participate in Nebraska elections — is a solution looking for a problem.

Secretary of State John Gale has stated plainly that there’s been no evidence of voter fraud being a problem in Nebraska. An earlier Local View from Kristie Pfabe noted that impersonation, the type of fraud an ID plan aims to stop, is the least efficient way possible to sway a race. It comes with a high cost criminally, and that high potential cost yields but one vote.

Murante argues that the bill is necessary to restore Americans’ confidence in the voting process.

But the plan creates more problems than it solves and does more harm to our democracy than it helps.

Read the full editorial.

Environmental groups file lawsuit seeking to stop KXL

From the Columbus Telegram:

National environmental groups and the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline fired separate legal volleys Thursday over the contentious project.

Environmental groups — including one that got its start in Nebraska — made good on a promise to file a lawsuit seeking to reverse President Donald Trump’s green-lighting of the Keystone XL project.

Meanwhile, TransCanada filed a motion with the Nebraska Public Service Commission urging it to reject 56 people and groups seeking intervener status in the review of the Keystone XL route through the Cornhusker state, including the Nebraska Ponca and Yankton Sioux tribes and environmental and public-health advocacy groups.

More than 100 people and organizations, including more than 90 landowners and three labor unions, have petitioned to intervene, which would allow them to file legal briefs, cross-examine witnesses and present formal arguments to the PSC alongside TransCanada’s attorneys.

Read the full story.

Nebraskans pledge to fight after Trump approves KXL

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

Nebraska corn farmer Art Tanderup was just about to head to his workshop Friday morning to overhaul his 30-year-old field sprayer in preparation for spring planting when his phone rang.

President Donald Trump had granted a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the voice on the line said.

Pipeline manufacturer TransCanada wants to plant a half-mile of the crude-oil pipe across a field where Tanderup and wife Helen have planted red, blue, white and speckled corn sacred to the Ponca Tribe, part of their ongoing protest of the project.

While Tanderup knew it was coming, Trump’s official reversal of former President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL struck a sour note.

“We’re quite disappointed,” Tanderup said. “Now we’re looking what we can do to stop it, and obviously that is through the Nebraska Public Service Commission.”

Read the full story.

Free showing of ‘1984’ in Lincoln April 4

From The Ross:

Free Screening of 1984: On April 4, 2017, almost 140 art house movie theatres — including The Ross — across the country in 124 cities and in 41 states, plus four locations in Canada, will be participating collectively in a NATIONAL EVENT DAY screening of the 80s movie 1984 in support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This date was chosen because it’s the day George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary. Participants in this event strongly believe in supporting the NEA and the NEH and see any attempt to scuttle these programs as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment. This event provides a chance for communities around the country to show their unity and have their voices heard.

1984 is showing admission free at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on Tuesday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. (313 North 13th Street, Lincoln). The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the importance of the NEA and NEH. Panelists include Suzanne Wise, Executive Director of the Nebraska Arts Council; Chris Sommerich, Executive Director of Humanities Nebraska; and Doug Zyblut, Executive Director of Nebraskans for the Arts.

Read more abut the event at The Ross.

Read more about the national event.