By Ken Winston and Clyde Anderson
TransCanada is one of North America’s largest providers of gas storage and pipeline services. It also owns, controls or is developing approximately 11,700 megawatts of power generation. TransCanada’s 30-inch Keystone Pipeline is presently under construction and will extend 2,151 miles to transport crude oil from the tar sand mines near Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Okla., and southern Illinois. It is shown as the solid line in the map below and crosses Nebraska from a crossing of the Missouri River near Crofton, Neb., south to the Kansas border near Fairbury, Neb.
[Map from the TransCanada web site http://www.transcanada.com/keystone/index.html]
TransCanada now proposes to construct a second pipeline, the 36-inch Keystone XL, on a route that will cover 1,661 miles from Alberta through Nebraska and other Great Plains states to the U.S. Gulf Coast. (The dashed line in the map.) Its route cuts across a far more sensitive part of Nebraska – the Sandhills and Niobrara River Valley.
Nebraska Sierra Club is opposed to the Keystone XL project. “This proposed route through Nebraska is guaranteed to decimate and destroy a huge amount of fragile rare habitat that is vulnerable,” said Buffalo Bruce, Platte Valley Group Conservation Chair. “Biologists refer to the Nebraska Sand Hills as the most important biologically intact focal area within the Great Plains.”
Nebraska Sierra Club is opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline for the following reasons:
• It would go from Canada to Texas, across thousands of miles of agricultural heartland.
• This pipeline would cross many miles of Nebraska’s Sandhills, a unique environmental area with soils and plant life that are easily damaged and difficult to restore.
• It would go through an area where the Ogallala aquifer is largest and deepest.
• Once an aquifer is polluted it is difficult and expensive to clean up, and environmental cleanup funds are very limited (thanks to George W. Bush).
• The pipeline company is proposing using thinner pipe walls and higher pressures for this pipeline than they have used in the past.
• It will be used to transport tar sands oil from Canada. The process to obtain tar sands is very environmentally damaging. If they build the pipeline they will have more reasons to further develop the tar sands and expand the environmental damage.
Want to learn more about the Keystone XL Project and its potential impact on Nebraska? At the next Chapter meeting on Saturday, June 26, 9:30 a.m. at Lincoln Unitarian Church, 6300 A St., there will be a presentation about the project followed by a discussion concerning future action. Please plan to attend!