Report from our board chair: Keystone XL pipeline hearing in Grand Island, NE

From Paul Seamans, DRA Board Chair and landowner crossed by the Keystone XL pipeline:

I just wanted to give you a little run down of my trip. I got there around 4:00 pm, got a room and got my bearings. The roads were mostly good all the way (it was 300 miles to Grand Island). I then went back north about 60 miles to a farm east of Fullerton where there was a pre-testimony rally and BBQ. I think this was mainly social where everyone visited and probably got a little psyched up. Near the end of the meeting everyone was asked to go outside on a grassy area, form about 3 concentric circles, hold hands, and a diverse group of about 8 people said prayers. There were 200-250 people at the BBQ.

[The next morning] I got to the fairground area about 9:00 a.m. and went to an indoor area where a lot of our people were meeting and waiting around for the press conference. The press conference lasted about 1 hour where there was a diverse group of about 10 people from many areas that each gave a short speech. From there we went next door to the arena area where we waited in line over an hour to get into the arena area. The reason it took so long to get into the arena area is that everyone had to go through a metal detector (allegedly because of the Boston bombing). Once inside everything was pretty orderly with a limit of 200 people that could testify. Once again the union people were there to fill the seats. I figure there were at least a thousand people there with over 80% of the people from our side. None of us South Dakotans signed up to testify. There was a ton of media there with cameras and reporters so this should be in the news last night and today and further on. The break was at 3:30 at which time 66 of the people had testified. I left at this time as it had snowed about 4 inches the night before and I was concerned about the roads but the sun had melted most of the snow and the roads were good on the way back. Got home a little after 11:00 pm.

The Nebraska people are quite passionate about protecting the Ogallala Aquifer and a lot of the testimony centered on this. The pipeline will still go through about the same amount of aquifer as before but the powers that be simply are trying to change the map to suit them so that it now looks like the pipeline will miss the aquifer. BOLD has a lawsuit pending to stop this baloney.The Nebraskans are a little upset that their Governor has seemed to jump ship on them.
All the Nebraska people at this meeting are very, very, very, etc., passionate about not letting the KXL follow this new route. If construction starts on the new route I wouldn’t be surprised to see these Nebraskans lying down in front of bulldozers. It was worth the trip just to see how passionate they are on this issue. It’s one thing to read about their opposition in the papers and quite another thing to see it in person. There were even quite a few young people testifying in opposition to the KXL. Actually their testimony was some of the most effective as they are the ones who will have to live with it longer. In the 66 testimonies I heard there were probably 10 Natives that gave testimony that is listened to by the major media. The testimony that was given in opposition to the pipeline appealed a lot to the emotions whereas the testimony that was given in favor to the pipeline could have been read from a list of facts. I think the opposition testimony will get a lot better coverage in the media. The opposition people were oftentimes swarmed by the media after their testimony while the proponent testimony people seemed to be ignored by the media.
If I would have to use one word to describe the Nebraska people, and I’ve used the word quite a bit already, that word is passion. If it is up to them, “the pipeline will not pass”. We haven’t heard the last of this.


  1. Reblogged this on sicanguscribbler.

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