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PNS Daily Newscast - June 18, 2018 


First Lady Melania Trump makes statement against separating kids from parents. Also on the Monday rundown: Anti-hunger advocates applaud the newest Farm Bill: plus diaper duty an economic burden for 1-in-3 families.

Daily Newscasts

Pipeline Developer Cash Fuels Nebraska Political Campaigns

TransCanada says its Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil to a refinery in Texas owned by Saudi Arabia for export to foreign countries, will boost economies in Nebraska communities. (Fibonacci Blue/Flicker)
TransCanada says its Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil to a refinery in Texas owned by Saudi Arabia for export to foreign countries, will boost economies in Nebraska communities. (Fibonacci Blue/Flicker)
June 7, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. – New analysis by the Associated Press found a TransCanada political action committee gave more than $65,000 to Nebraska campaigns within the past year, including $25,000 to Gov. Pete Ricketts' campaign, $15,000 to the Nebraska Republican Party and another $25,000 to state legislators.

Jane Kleeb, president of the group Bold Alliance, says TransCanada knows that property owners think the company's Keystone XL pipeline project is too risky.

"The vast majority of landowners along the proposed pipeline route do not want to see this pipeline built,” Kleeb stresses. “So knowing that they can't just easily get the landowners to agree to the pipeline, they've moved on to politicians to try to ram through this project."

TransCanada says it's just participating in an open and transparent political process, and argues the pipeline is safe and would provide economic benefits to local communities.

TransCanada previously has reported investing more than $1.2 million in Nebraska lobbying efforts over the past decade.

The pipeline would transport Canadian crude oil to a refinery in Texas owned by Saudi Arabia for export to foreign countries, and Kleeb is skeptical that it would boost Nebraska's economy.

She notes farmers and ranchers are not against all pipelines, and want to see ethanol and other biofuel infrastructure developed.

But Kleeb says this project also comes with significant environmental concerns.

"It's taking on the risks that tar sands has, which is a unique form of oil,” she states. “When it spills, it's very difficult if not impossible to clean up, especially once it hits the Ogalalla aquifer and our moving waters."

Kleeb says her group plans to counter TransCanada's cash by mobilizing grassroots networks, with an eye on two open seats on the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

The commission narrowly voted in favor of the pipeline last year, three to two.

The decision has been temporarily blocked by a pending lawsuit before the state's Supreme Court.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE