At an Iowa debate last night, Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich bashed the decision to extend review of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Spurred by intense, bipartisan opposition in Nebraska to the pipeline’s proposed route over the Ogallala Aquifer, the State Department decided that alternate routes needed to be assessed. After an emergency legislative session called by Republican governor David Heineman, the state of Nebraska has begun its own environmental review. The Canadian tar sands company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, has said it will redirect the pipeline away from the sensitive Sandhills.
However, Gingrich dismissed the will of the people of Nebraska, attacking President Obama for threatening a veto of the Republican Keystone XL poison pill in the payroll tax cut bill:
The president of the United States cannot figure out that it is — I’m using mild words here — utterly irrational to say, “I am going to veto a middle-class tax cut to protect left-wing environmental extremists in San Francisco,” so that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians, and do it in a way that makes no sense to any normal rational American.
The farmers and ranchers of Nebraska who stood up to the foreign tar sands company TransCanada might not agree that their opposition to unlimited foreign oil greed means they aren’t a “normal rational American.”
In fact, it’s the decision to rush Keystone XL that Nebraskans think is “utterly irrational.” “We do not even have a new route out of the Sandhills yet, and they want to rush the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Bruce Boettcher, landowner and rancher in the Sandhills, in a statement to ThinkProgress Green. “It makes absolutely no sense.”
“Not only will this pipeline risk jobs of our farmers and ranchers, it is built as an export pipe sending tarsands to Latin America and Asia. If Newt wants a real education on this issue, we invite him to work just one day on a ranch in the Sandhills,” Nebraska activist Jane Kleeb tells ThinkProgress Green.