Nebraska Farmers in “David and Goliath” fight as Keystone XL clears hurdle

the_barnThe controversial Keystone XL pipeline that will move Alberta crude to refineries in the Houston area is one step closer to being a reality. The U.S. State Department concluded the project won’t significantly impact greenhouse emissions. U.S. President Barack Obama will still have the final say, but this is certainly a major hurdle for the pipeline to cross the border.

The part of the pipeline from the Houston area to Oklahoma is already complete and oil began flowing last week. Ground zero now is Nebraska. We often tell this story from 30,000 feet – how it’ll affect the economy, create jobs, harm the environment etc. – but for the most part the pipeline will never directly affect most of us. So we went to someone who it will affect. More than 100 ranchers and farmers, about a third of the landowners in the state, refuse to sell parts of their land.

Source: CTV News | by: Jordan Chittley, Kevin Newman

– This Farm Bill Deserves A Veto

capitolWashington Post Editorial Board | IN TWO recent speeches, his Dec. 4 oration on income inequality and his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama proclaimed his commitment to fairness and equal opportunity. In the former address, he called inequality “the defining challenge of our time”; in the latter, he vowed to use executive action to meet it. So we hope Mr. Obama will pick up the phone, call Congress — and tell them he’s preparing his veto pen for the 2014 farm bill. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that this legislative grotesquerie gives to the rich and takes from the poor.

Read the entire Editorial Here>>

Source: The Washington Post | Editorial Board

Stormy Sea Ahead for the California Water Debate

Central Valley Water CrisisWASHINGTON — The California drought will soon expose the geographic, political, personal and institutional divisions that complicate meaningful congressional action.

Forget farmers versus environmentalists, that classic California plot. These divisions go deeper, and could easily kill the legislative fixes House Republicans vowed to make at a Bakersfield-area farm last week.

In the state’s Central Valley, the potential farmer-against-farmer conflict could pit East Side versus West Side and North versus South. On Capitol Hill, besides the never-ending clash between Republicans and Democrats, unresolved tensions divide House from Senate. One on one, bad blood divides certain key lawmakers.

“It’s probably going to be very difficult for Congress to respond,” Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, said in an interview Friday, “but this crisis is so big that Congress has to try.”  Read the entire article here >>

Source: Sacramento Bee | By: Michael Doyle, McClatchy Washington Bureau