Did pumpkins prompt a special session?

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s call for a special session on the Keystone XL pipeline came as a bit of a surprise yesterday, since the last we heard was that the speaker of the state legislature was backing down from the idea, concerned about legal action.

The progressive group Bold Nebraska, which has been campaigning aggressively against the pipeline, says its pumpkin-carving event over the weekend helped turn the governor around.

On Saturday, the group called for volunteers to spell out the message “91 leaks and 0 regulations are scary, call a special session Gov. Heineman” with individual jack o’lanterns carved for each letter.

(You may have noticed the title frame of the video says “August 22,” but I’m pretty sure no one was wearing flannel shirts and jackets in Lincoln in August.)

Heineman, a Republican, has in the past been resistant to the idea of calling a special session to establish state regulatory authority over pipelines, saying as recently as September that the issue should be handled via the federal permitting process. Earlier this month, Heineman openly advocated a state effort to reroute the pipeline.

So, did the pumpkins finally move the governor to call legislators back to Lincoln? It’s impossible to say. But it’s pretty clever.

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