Nebraskans Cautious About Pipeline

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


As I reported last month, even though the US government has not given the green light for a giant pipeline that TransCanada wants to build to move oil from Alberta to Texas, the oil giant is already sending threatening letters to landowners in Nebraska. The 1,980-mile pipeline would blaze right through the state—that is, if the federal government approves it. But Nebraskans aren’t particularly excited about the pipeline, according to a new poll that found 48 percent of state residents oppose the project. Another 33 percent of state residents are still undecided, and only 19 percent approve of the proposal.

With concerns mounting about the safety of pipelines, it’s not surprising that Nebraskans would be less than enthusiastic about allowing a giant one to run straight through their state. The poll was conducted on behalf of Bold Nebraska, a progressive group that opposes the pipeline. Seventy-six percent of those polled said they believe that there should be state regulations on pipelines, and 81 percent said they should have access to and input in the states’s emergency response plan for an oil spill. Eighty-four percent of residents said they wanted their elected officials at the local and state level to be “very active” in raising questions about the proposed pipeline.

Republican Governor Dave Heineman has avoided the topic, stating that it’s a “federal regulatory issue” and not something the state needs to be concerned with. But Republican Senator Mike Johanns issued a fairly strong statement last month urging TransCanada to remain “above board” in their negotiations with state residents. “Landowners tell me that TransCanada has set arbitrary deadlines for acceptance of payment offers and threatened the use of eminent domain without so much as an approved permit to move forward with the project,” said Johanns, and called on TransCanada to “immediately lift any deadlines imposed on Nebraska landowners and to negotiate in good faith.”

The poll is further evidence that Nebraskas don’t want to be railroaded on the pipeline. “Citizens do not appreciate being misled by TransCanada and want our elected leaders to stand up and protect our land and water,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate