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National Farmer’s Union Press Release

March 29, 2011
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2011

    CONTACT: Ryan Salmon, National Wildlife Federation: (703) 438-6000

    Graham Christensen, Nebraska Farmers’ Union: (402) 476-8815
    National Farmers Union:

    Protect Clean Water and Landowners from Pipeline Threats

    WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28 – As Midwestern farmers’ concerns mount about the
    proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, the National Farmers Union has
    adopted strong policies opposing any project that threatens water supplies
    and condemning the use of unfair tactics to secure right-of-way from farmers
    and other landowners.

    NFU, which represents farms and ranchers nationwide with 32 state
    affiliates, adopted the pipeline
    policy<http://www.nfu.org/images/stories/Final_2011_Policy.pdf>at its
    national convention March 15. The resolution comes in response to
    farmers’ concerns about the Keystone XL, which TransCanada Corp. proposes to
    build to carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to Gulf Coast
    refineries.

    Along the route, landowners and lawmakers are decrying TransCanada’s
    bullying and aggressive use of eminent domain to push the pipeline through.
    Farmers in Oklahoma<http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tar-sands-us-legal-challenge-to-eminent-domain-for-transcanadas-keystone-xl-pipeline-2011-01-17>and
    other states have taken TransCanada to court on grounds that as a
    foreign corporation it can not take right-of-way under eminent domain. And
    in a report to Canadian energy officials, TransCanada stated that one reason
    for the pipeline is to raise the
    price<http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/117832183.html>Midwestern
    refineries pay for crude oil by as much as $5 billion. That could
    bring a 20 cent per gallon increase in the cost of gasoline at the pump,
    which would hit farmers hardest.

    “We oppose any infrastructure or resource development that jeopardizes the
    health, safety and quality of the Ogallala Aquifer and other freshwater
    resources,” says the new policy. It opposes “the use of eminent domain
    without the developer putting into place environmental safeguards and
    assuming liability for damages,” and calls for “transparency in the planning
    and routing process including public input, fair compensation to landowners,
    and a process to deal with landowner and public complaints and conflicts.”

    “Midwestern landowners have felt they have been misled by a multi-national
    oil company that is planning to build a pipeline at all costs,” said Graham
    Christensen, public affairs director for the Nebraska Farmers
    Union<http://www.nebraskafarmersunion.org/>,
    which introduced the pipeline resolution at the national convention. He said
    the policies would “give landowners some basic protections from pipeline
    companies that may have conflicting economical and environmental interests.”

    The National Farmers Union resolution raises yet another hurdle for the
    troubled pipeline, which is awaiting a decision from the State Department on
    whether to issue a permit for the project. In early March, in response to
    the pipeline’s threat to the Ogallala aquifer and the high accident rate for
    pipelines carrying tar sands oil, the State Department ordered additional
    study of the Keystone XL’s environmental impact.

 

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