Anti-oil activist groups organized diesel-powered buses for protesters traveling to Nebraska for a round of protests and marches against the Keystone XL Pipeline before state regulators determine the oil project’s fate.
The Sierra Club, 350.org, and Bold Nebraska are co-sponsoring a protest march and bus transportation for the “March to Give Keystone XL the Boot,” a demonstration targeting the nearly 1,700-mile-long pipeline. Buses were scheduled to depart from Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri, among other areas, and arrive in Nebraska Aug. 6.
“If you want to come to Nebraska from Colorado for the March to Give KXL the Boot, please book as soon as you can to guarantee a seat!” according to a Bold Nebraska statement on the group’s Eventbrite page. “March with us to give Keystone XL the boot!””Book as soon as possible, today if you can,” the group urged those preparing for the march. “It’s often impossible to add extra buses at the last minute (we have tried before!) even if we have enough people to fill one.”
Part of the reason for the trek is to influence Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) as the regulatory agency determines Keystone’s fate during a grueling, week-long series of testimonies from experts discussing different aspects of the pipeline
The march could be too little too late, however. PSC nixed expert advice from several anti-oil activists earlier in August. One of the state’s hearing officers told activist Lorne Stockman that his testimony for an Aug. 7 hearing would not be taken into consideration.
PSC ruled on Aug. 2 that Stockman’s testimony, along with input from Nebraska landowners, and various activist groups will be excluded from the hearing because their concerns are beyond the scope of the regulatory agency, according to a press statement Friday from Oil Change International, a group that determines the cost to the U.S. of producing fossil fuels.
The commission’s decision comes after Keystone’s builder, TransCanada, made legal challenges to Stockman’s testimony. The Canadian company has also pushed back against claims that TransCanada intends on backing out of the project because of regulatory barriers and a poor market for oil.
TransCanada told reporters at Western Wire earlier this month that media reports suggesting the company was backing away from the project were “untrue.”
“We are committed to Keystone XL, and we have good support from our core customers,” said Matthew John, a spokesman for TransCanada. “What we’re aiming for in this open season is to secure a significant number of long-term 20-year contracts, and we are very confident in our ability to do so.”
The multi-billion-dollar project is expected to carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, and with crude at $53 per barrel, potentially yield taxpayers $1.6 billion a year. Market conditions have changed.
Oil prices are lower today than they were in 2009 when the pipeline was first proposed. Prices hovered around $130 a barrel at the time, which meant that demand from oil producers and refineries for the pipeline was high. A barrel of oil today sells for about $45.
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