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Sen. Jim Smith, State Chair of ALEC, Pens Letter to PSC Supporting TransCanada’s Foreign Steel-Made, Foreign Oil-Carrying Keystone XL Export Pipeline

By Jane Kleeb - Bold Alliance, March 8, 2017

Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb issued this response to a letter sent by Nebraska State Sen. Jim Smith, also the state chair of corporation-friendly bill mill ALEC, and other Senators to the Public Service Commission voicing support of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tarsands export pipeline, which is abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatening our land, water and climate:

“Keystone XL is a foreign-owned pipeline, using foreign, non-union steel, transporting foreign oil, headed to the foreign export market,” said Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb. “We stand with the United Steelworkers union demanding U.S. steel, landowners defending their property rights from eminent domain, and our Native allies as we all take action to protect our water.”

Foreign, Non-Union Steel Destined for KXL

President Trump has betrayed the promise of his Presidential Memorandum, and numerous statements he has made publicly saying that only U.S.-made steel would be used on Keystone XL.

Despite TransCanada’s contention that “75% of the steel [for Keystone XL] is coming from North American sources,” this statement grossly misrepresents the sourcing of steel already purchased by the company for the pipeline.

It’s true that some of the pipe intended for Keystone XL was manufactured in North America — Canada to be exact (which obviously does not meet Trump’s promise to “buy American” or “American-made” steel). But the Russian company with facilities in Regina, Canada that TransCanada contracted with for 40% of the pipe, Evraz, is co-owned by Russian steel oligarch Roman Abramovich, a close ally and mentor of Vladimir Putin — and a Trump family friend.


What’s more, TransCanada contracted with an India-based, non-union multi-national company, Welspun Corp Limited, to produce some of the pipe intended for Keystone XL. The company may claim this pipe was “purchased” in the U.S. — from Welspun’s local non-union plant in Arkansas, where it was shipped from India, and coated — but this pipe bears a “Made in India” country-of-origin stamp, and the only work done on it in the U.S. was by a non-union shop.


Dramatic Polling Shift on Keystone XL

According to several new polls, more Americans now oppose than support construction of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tarsands export pipeline.

48% of Americans said they oppose Keystone XL, compared with 42% who support it, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted Feb. 7-12.

The share of the overall public favoring the pipeline has fallen 17 percentage points since 2014 (from 59% to 42%).

The breakdown by party in the poll shows that Democrats are now strongly opposed to Keystone XL, with 74% opposed and just 17% in support — less than half the share that did so three years ago (44%).

In another recent (Feb. 23) Quinnipiac Poll, 51% of American voters said they were opposed to Keystone XL, compared with 38% who support it.

Background on Nebraska opposition to Keystone XL:

In Nebraska, the pipeline permit application process at the Public Service Commission can take eight months to a year. The process calls for public hearings and other opportunities for comment, including an official intervenor process where landowners and others are represented by attorneys, and testimony is heard from experts and others in a quasi-judicial setting.

TransCanada also cannot apply to use eminent domain authority again to take farmers’ and ranchers’ land against their will until September 2017, according to applicable Nebraska state law governing the use of eminent domain. The collective of Nebraska landowners who held out against selling their land to TransCanada remains strong — many are still in court suing TransCanada for the money they have already spent on attorneys and court costs battling eminent domain for over six years.

President Trump’s State Dept. abandoned established procedure and eliminated any opportunity for public comment on TransCanada’s federal permit application and the Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL, the same review that led Sec. Kerry and President Obama to determine the pipeline was not in the U.S. national interest. The State Dept. received more than 1 million comments from citizens the last time around.

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