Arrested Nebraskans Speak on Oil Pipeline Planned for their Backyards
Thousands of protesters have converged upon the White House to protest the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, which would link oil reserves in Canada to the Gulf Coast. But a certain sect of the protesters have an ever more personal, vested interested in keeping the pipeline from going ahead: the potential soil erosion and water contamination is right in their backyard.
The Lincoln, Nebraska Journal-Star spoke to some locals who'd been arrested in Washington for protesting Keystone XL, and their willingness to go to jail—none of whom had gone before—illustrated the gravity of the pending pipeline. As Tyson Johnson, a 21-year-old University of Nebraska student, said, ""I just feel as though the risk of being arrested is nowhere near the risk of the pipeline going through our state, through our nation. It doesn't make any sense in any regard."
Johnson offered his perspective as he and a half dozen other Nebraskans, including Jane Kleeb of Hastings and Bold Nebraska, strode toward a rendezvous point at Lafayette Park, across the street from President Barack Obama's office.
They were planning to join about 60 other pipeline opponents from other states.
Being handcuffed is brand new to his experience, Johnson said.
"This is, by far, the first time I've gotten arrested. I haven't even gotten a speeding ticket before."
Mass arrests in Washington add a chapter to a story that is expected to bring State Department officials to Lincoln and to a Sandhills location, yet to be announced, in September for another round of public input.
Meanwhile, two Texans and a Nebraskan are embarking across America on a speaking tour in order to educate people about the dangers and intrusion of the proposed pipeline. They recently stopped in Salina, Kansas, where they discussed their poor treatment by smarmy TransCanada employees:
David Daniel, an east Texas landowner, told of intimidation and fear tactics imposed by pipeline officials as they bought easements in his area and others.
"My property would be split in half," Daniel said of the pipeline.
"My concerns are about safety what is coming for my family and water supplies," he said.
Daniel is on a speaking tour with two other Texans and someone from Nebraska. The tour concludes in Washington, D.C., early next week, where they join other opponents. Dozens of protesters were arrested near the White House this past weekend.
"We want to be a source of information. I didn't have the chance to make an informed decision," said Daniel, 44.
He said pipeline officials have lied to him and trespassed on his property.
"I honestly do not have trust in TransCanada," Daniel said.
The protests in DC continue.