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Nebraska

Niskithe Prayer Camp Launched In Resistance To Development Project

Lincoln, Nebraska - On May 2nd, in so-called Lincoln, Nebraska, the Niskithe Prayer Camp was established in opposition to the “Wilderness Crossing development project, which would significantly encroach on sacred Native American purification/sweat ceremonies and disrupt an existing pristine nature park.” According to Nebraska Public Media: Lincoln City Council approved a housing development for 162 single-family homes, 134 townhomes, and 205 apartments near Wilderness Park in Lincoln, across from the only two Native American sweat lodges within the city, last week. Now, a group of Native American community members set up a prayer camp on the approved land in protest. Seven native teepees surround Native Americans while they burn cedar and pray for the sanctity of the sweat lodges across the street. In the 1970s, Chief Leonard Crow Dog set up those lodges on private land surrounding Wilderness Park for Native Americans to hold traditional ceremonies, pray, and heal.

Family Dollar Employees: ‘We All Quit’

Lincoln, Neb. - A Family Dollar store in Lincoln is back open Monday, after having a sign on its door the previous day indicating everyone had quit. The store located near 48th Street and Leighton Avenue was closed on Sunday with this message posted on the entrance: “We all Quit. Sorry for the inconvenience.” This is now the second business to have a situation such as this one. A Burger King in Lincoln back in July saw all nine employees quit. The last two Family Dollar employees decided to quit on Sunday and they were the ones to put up the orange sign. Former employees said the store manager quit 4 or 5 days ago. Former employee, Breanna Faeller, said the pay is low and they are working extra-long shifts.

Dead Bees, Sick Residents From Pesticide Pollution In Nebraska

“I have been coughing since 2018. It does not go away,” says Jody Weible over the phone from her home in Mead, Nebraska. “It’s like a never-ending sinus infection. I’ve been to a specialist . . . and he definitely thinks it’s environmental.” Weible believes her health issues—and those of many others nearby—are linked to an ethanol plant that is less than a mile from her home. The plant, owned by AltEn, is currently the site of an evolving environmental disaster. While most ethanol is produced using corn, AltEn has been using corn seed that is coated in systemic pesticides since at least 2018. The fermentation and distillation process used to make ethanol has concentrated those chemicals so that the liquid and solid byproducts contain those pesticides at levels that, according to testing done by state agencies, far exceeded what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe.

Iowa Tribe Creates National Park

Lincoln, NE — The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation's largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River and a historic site of its people.  The 444-acre park will allow the tribe to tell the story of the Ioway people and provide a rustic getaway where people can hike, camp and bird-watch, said Lance Foster, the tribe's vice chairman. "We've been here for 1,000 years now and, unlike other people who can buy and sell land and move away, we can never move away," Foster said. "This is our land forever. And we'll be here for another 1,000 years."

Midwest Flooding Exposes Another Oil Pipeline Risk — On Keystone XL’s Route

NAPER, Nebraska — Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it's buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress's property. 

Resistance In The Heartland: Fighting ICE In Small-Town Iowa And Nebraska

“You have to leave the country now that Trump is president.” That’s what Latinx children heard from some white schoolmates in the small southeastern Iowa town of Mount Pleasant in the days after Donald Trump was elected. Eighteen months later, the threat of deportation seemed much more real than a schoolyard taunt. On May 9, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained 32 men—22 from Guatemala and the rest from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras—at Mount Pleasant’s Midwest Precast Concrete (MPC) plant. A concrete mixing plant that started up more than a decade ago, MPC owes its building and success largely to migrant Latino labor, including that of some highly valued supervisors who were swept up.

Another Set Back For TransCanada: Keystone XL Pipeline In Nebraska To Go Through ‘Robust Environmental Review’

After regulators in Nebraska ordered the pipeline follow a new route, or alternative route, the Trump administration argued that there was no need to “produce an extensive new environmental impact statement for the pipeline,” Inside Climate News reported. But U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Montana disagreed with the Trump administration on Wednesday. Since the pipeline will now follow an alternative route and not its original route, Morris wrote the government “cannot escape their responsibility.” While the “Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved the pipeline project, it rejected TransCanada’s preferred route and ordered it to use an alternative route instead,” Inside Climate News reported. The pipeline will now cross through five different counties in the state including several bodies of water therefore, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the government is required to conduct an environmental review before pipeline construction can start.

Federal Court Overrules Trump And Calls For Full Environmental Review Of Keystone XL In Nebraska

Lower Brule, SD — Today, a federal court ruled the State Department must conduct an environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska. Last November, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a “Mainline Alternative” route for the pipeline through the state. Tribes and landowners have since challenged the PSC decision. The federal court ruling is a strong affirmation of their claims and an impediment to the TransCanada corporation pipeline. In one of his first acts in office, President Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline, previously scrapped by President Obama due to serious environmental, climate and legal concerns. Communities across the country have taken to the streets to protest the decision, and more than 17,000 people have signed the “Promise to Protect,” committing to action along the proposed route for Keystone XL if called upon by Indigenous leaders.

University Of Nebraska Faces Growing Calls To Expel Violent Neo-Nazi Dan Kleve

Lincoln, NE – Administrators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) are facing mounting criticism over their choice to ignore safety issues posed by 23-year-old biochemistry major Dan Kleve. Anti-racists have been calling for Kleve’s expulsion from UNL since last summer, when images of him surfaced after the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville. Public pressure on administrators has been building again after the recent release of a video from a Google Hangouts session in which Dan Kleve describes himself as “the most active white nationalist in the Nebraska area” and says “I want to be violent…really violent.” A similar video shows Kleve discussing his desire to murder a black man who asked him about his “pagan tattoos.” Kleve’s former roommate recently told Newsweek that the young man would keep an assault rifle in plain view and discussed wanting to kill black people...

KXL Pipeline Fighters Hail Commission Decision As Victory

By John Zangas for DCMG - The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to give TransCanada permission to build the northern leg of the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline on November 21, yet opponents are heralding the decision as a victory. The Commission’s 3-2 vote approved an alternate route rather than TransCanada’s preferred one, a move which pipeline fighters say could set back the project at least three years and possibly up to as many as five years. The KXL pipeline northern leg is intended to transport tar sands from Alberta tar pits to refineries in Texas where it would be exported to Asia. Opponents have argued that in addition to tar sands being one of the most dirty types of fossil energy sources, the pipeline would be a major climate change contributor, and risk contaminating the Ogallala aquifer, an agricultural and drinking water source for over 2 million people across nine states. TransCanada has been challenged at each stage by opponents since it first applied for the permit to build the northern leg of the KXL pipeline. Project opponents include hundreds of land owners, indigenous people, environmentalists, and green groups, which launched a massive nationwide campaign against it in 2010. And with this vote they believe there is a good chance the project can be stopped altogether because construction will be delayed even longer. Art Tanderup, a farmer from Neligh, Neb., whose property would be directly impacted by the KXL, said that the Nebraska PSC decision will force TransCanada to relocate four pump stations.

Low Prices, Tar Sands Pull Out Could Kill KXL Pipeline

By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News - It will be close to three years, at least, before oil could possibly be moving through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline—if the pipeline is completed at all. Company officials now concede that after battling protests and regulatory hurdles for nearly a decade, market forces could scuttle the project. Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada first proposed the 1,700-mile project in 2008 to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The half-built project was halted by President Obama in 2015 only to be revived through an executive order signed by President Trump soon after he took office. The company has spent $3 billion on the project, mostly for pipe but also for land rights and other costs of lobbying for its proposal. During the prolonged dispute, the price of oil fell from more than $130 a barrel to roughly $45 a barrel today, undercutting the prospects for production growth in the Canadian tar sands, which were used to justify the Keystone XL project at its outset. Along with changing market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines scattered TransCanada's customer base. Now it's uncertain whether the company can sign enough new commitments from Alberta's beleaguered oil patch to move forward.

“We’re Ready To Stop It Again”: KXL Opponents Flood Nebraska’s Capitol

By Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams - "Keystone XL never has been and never will be in Nebraska's public interest. This is a foreign pipeline, headed to the foreign export market, wanting to use eminent domain for private gain on Nebraska landowners," said Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb, who also noted that the proposed pipeline route crosses the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. A recent Greenpeace report (pdf) predicted that the Keystone XL pipeline, if constructed, would average more than one significant spill per year, posing a serious threat to all water resources along the route. The Nebraska Sand Hills—the Western Hemisphere's largest sand dunes—has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. (However, the department seems unlikely to fight the pipeline, with a deputy secretary who, before his appointment by President Donald Trump, had built a successful career as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.) "It is not in Nebraska's interest to place a tar sands pipeline through Nebraska's eastern Sand Hills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, or to allow a foreign corporation to use eminent domain for corporate greed and abuse landowners with 'all risk, no reward' easements," said Art Tanderup, a landowner along the Keystone XL route.

Keystone XL: Low Oil Prices, Tar Sands Pullout Could Kill Pipeline Plan

By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News - It will be close to three years, at least, before oil could possibly be moving through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline—if the pipeline is completed at all. Company officials now concede that after battling protests and regulatory hurdles for nearly a decade, market forces could scuttle the project. Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada first proposed the 1,700-mile project in 2008 to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The half-built project was halted by President Obama in 2015 only to be revived through an executive order signed by President Trump soon after he took office. The company has spent $3 billion on the project, mostly for pipe but also for land rights and other costs of lobbying for its proposal. During the prolonged dispute, the price of oil fell from more than $130 a barrel to roughly $45 a barrel today, undercutting the prospects for production growth in the Canadian tar sands, which were used to justify the Keystone XL project at its outset. Along with changing market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines scattered TransCanada's customer base. Now it's uncertain whether the company can sign enough new commitments from Alberta's beleaguered oil patch to move forward.

Northrup Grumman Protest: Three Charges Dropped

By Lauren Scott for KE TV - BELLEVUE, Neb. —New details have been released in the trial against four people accused of damaging the Northrop Grumman Building in Bellevue. The charges against all three co-defendants were dismissed in court Tuesday. However, the self-proclaimed hammer of justice, Jessica Rezniceck, remains behind bars and loyal to her cause. Before the hearing, several supporters of Reznicek stood outside of the Sarpy County Courthouse, demanding peace and justice.

Peace Activists Arrested On Grounds Of Neb. Defense Contractor

By Patrick O'Neill for NCR Online - A security guard's encounter with an anti-war protester who was holding a sledgehammer in one hand and baseball bat in the other led to the arrests of four peace activists Sunday night on the grounds of defense contractor Northrop Grumman in Bellevue, Neb. At their first court appearance Tuesday, large bonds were set for Michele Naar-Obed, Jessica Reznicek, Frank Cordaro and Mauro Heck. The four were each charged with felony burglary and felony criminal mischief after police encountered them on Northrop Grumman property. Some windows were broken, and the damage was estimated at $8,000. Reznicek, 34, who was holding the bat and sledgehammer, told television station KETV that she alone did the damage.
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