As union workers extolled the virtues of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at Wednesday’s hearing before the Nebraska Public Service Commission, Jeanne Crumly grew exasperated.
“I find it really frustrating when, from what we understand, you’re paid to testify, somebody writes your testimony for you, you’re bused in,” said Ms. Crumly, a pipeline opponent who lives in Page, Nebraska.
Then again, some Keystone foes also received an assist. The Sierra Club and Bold Nebraska offered bus rides from Omaha and Atkinson for $10, which included lunch; provided talking points, and passed out anti-KXL T-shirts and stickers.
The result was a battle between labor unions and environmentalists at the public hearing, the first since President Trump granted a permit last month for TransCanada to build the 1,200-mile pipeline carrying tar sands crude through Nebraska from Alberta, Canada.
TransCanada filed in February an application seeking approval in Nebraska, saying that about 90 percent of landowners along the pipeline corridor have signed voluntary easements.
The commission is charged with determining whether the route is in the public interest, not with approving the pipeline.