Arkansas Republicans support taking of private property | Arkansas Blog

Arkansas Republicans support taking of private property

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PITCHING FOR PIPELINE: Tom Cotton (left) and Tim Griffin
  • YouTube/Arkansas Business
  • PITCHING FOR PIPELINE: Tom Cotton (left) and Tim Griffin
Republican U.S. Reps. Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford and 4th District Republican nominee Tom Cotton held a dog-and-pony show at the Welspun pipe factory in Little Rock yesterday to continue spinning the fiction that the entire future of America rests on completion of the Keystone pipeline to carry hazardous tar sands from Canada to U.S. refineries where it will be made into products shipped to foreign countries.

There has been no permanent loss of jobs at Welspun from the delay in the pipeline. Welspun has been paid for the pipe. What Griffin and Crawford offer now is the unsupported claim that if Welspun must sell the pipe for a second time to clear its yard of it (TransCanada has already paid for it) the "dumping" of this pipe will drive down pipe prices nationally with terrible effects for Welspun. Hard to swallow given that Welspun just announced an expansion for other types of pipe.

Anyway, the real point is that government forces in Nebraska are trying to take private property rights away from landowners to build this pipeline and Griffin and Crawford apparently think that's fine. I thought property rights mattered to Republicans. Not when there's oil to be shipped overseas, I guess. Don't hold your breath for any tough questioning of Tiny Tim from local press on this pipeline story, which is not nearly so simple as Tiny Tim wants you to believe. They also try to make you believe the pipeline will bring down gas prices. Wrong, which even supporters admit.

Here's an update from another aspect of the Keystone story.

And a dispatch today from groups fighting the pipeline:

NEWS RELEASE

Below is a recap of this week’s news related to the ongoing Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Nebraskan landowners brought their concerns about eminent domain and the process under which TransCanada’s pipeline is being reviewed to their state’s Supreme Court. The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, questions the constitutionality of Nebraska’s current pipeline siting law and calls TransCanada’s Keystone XL permit application into question. See below for more:

News & Developments:

· Citizens of Nebraska filed a lawsuit, Thompson v. Heineman, in the Nebraska Supreme Court challenging the constitutional basis of LB 1161, Nebraska’s current pipeline siting law. The three landowner plaintiffs, represented by lawyer David Domina, are fighting for their rights to the land and water which provide their livelihoods as ranchers in an agricultural state.

According to a press release from Domina Law yesterday, “Critical steps and information for a transparent environmental assessment process was eliminated with LB 1161 giving Nebraska land to a foreign country though eminent domain with insufficient review or oversight.”

During a press call held by the legal team and landowners, Randy Thompson, the named plaintiff in the case, said, “I think for me the last straw was passage of LB1161 and the way it dismantled eminent domain protections for landowners in Nebraska – and the idea that a foreign corporation could actually come into the state and start condemning Nebraska properties when the same company doesn’t even have a permit to operate in our country.”

Thompson continued, "The main source of my frustration has come from the actions of our elected officials, not only in Nebraska, but in the nation."

Nebraska Governor Heineman has said that the state will proceed with the pipeline, despite the landowners’ lawsuit.

· A new report out this week further explains that the Keystone XL pipeline will not only be ineffective in lowering gas prices, but for many in the United States, the pipeline will cause even greater pain at the pump. NRDC, Oil Change International, and ForestEthics Advocacy released “Keystone XL: A Tar Sands Pipeline to Increase Oil Prices.”

Anthony Swift, of NRDC, summarized the findings on his blog, saying “The study finds that Keystone XL is likely to both reduce the amount of gasoline produced in U.S. refineries for domestic markets and increase the cost of producing it, leading to even higher prices at the pump.

With the facts piling up, some supporters of the pipeline admit that the pipeline has nothing to do with gas prices. However, a few ardent politicians and representatives from big oil itself are still in denial, but offer no concrete facts to support their arguments about gas prices.

· Despite recent attempts by TransCanada to toot their own horn in the press, the fact remains that tar sands oil is the dirtiest type of crude. A Congressional Research Service report released last week explains why extracting tar sands is a more intensive process and what that means for greenhouse gas emissions. Inside Climate News interviewed scientist Adam Brandt, whose own findings were used in the CRS study, about the environmental impact of Keystone XL. The article points out that scientific findings show “the project could raise U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 21 million metric tons a year—the equivalent of adding 4 million cars to the road.”

Quotes of the Week:

“If the Keystone pipeline comes down through our country, which I hope it does, that will not change the price of oil. The price of oil is determined on a global basis by what the supply is and what the demand is.” - Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)

"I believe very strongly in our rights as Nebraska citizens. All of us take it extremely personally when we are threatened with eminent domain." - Landowner Suz Luebbe, plaintiff in Thompson v. Heineman.

In Case You Missed It:

BP Agrees to Precedent-setting Settlement Over Whiting Refinery Pollution Permits: The controversy over air pollution permits awarded by the State of Indiana to expand BP’s refinery in Whiting has come to an end with a precedent-setting settlement that will cut emissions from the highly-polluting tar sands oil project and provide stronger air quality protections for Northwest Indiana and Chicago residents.

“The Canadian Oil Sand Mines Refused Us Access, So We Rented This Plane To See What They Were Up To” – This Business Insider article did flew over Alberta’s tar sands region to give a visual and educational perspective into the what exactly the extraction process of this dirty, unconventional crude looks like.

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