Randy Thompson has become famous among those opposed to TransCanada’s plans to build the oil pipeline through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. His image has been used in a campaign by Bold Nebraska entitled “I Stand with Randy” and used on posters and t-shirts.
Thompson, a landowner from Merrick County, has told State Department officials the issue has sparked unusual actions by Nebraskans.
“Since TransCanada has entered into the picture in the state of Nebraska, I have witnessed some very strange behavior from my fellow Nebraskans,” Thompson said during the public hearing in Lincoln. “It’s not often that you see Nebraska people protesting, especially 50, 60, 70 and 80 year old, ordinary citizens.”
Thompson said Nebraska’s land, heritage, water and beauty is more important to residents than any amount of oil money TransCanada can give it. Thompson called the pipeline decision an extremely critical issue to the state.
“Maybe it’s because our land, our heritage, our water and all the beauty of his state is more important to us than any amount of oil money you can give us,” Thompson said to applause.
The State Department is holding public hearings in all six states the $7 billion, 1,700 mile pipeline would go through on its way from the tar sand oil deposits of western Canada to refineries at the Gulf Coast in Texas. It held two public hearings in Nebraska, one in Lincoln and one in Atkinson, which is located in the Sand Hills.
Thompson asked the State Department to deny TransCanada the permit to build the oil pipeline.
“We personally do not feel like putting our livelihoods, our resources, our drinking water at risk just for the benefit of big oil companies,” Thompson said.
Thompson has claimed that TransCanada has tried to bully him into letting them have access to his land to build the pipeline.