Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) urges Nebraskans with interest in the proposed Keystone XL routes to go to the Nebraska Public Service (PSC) website to view the three primary routes under consideration: http://www.psc.nebraska.gov/natgas/Keystone_Pipeline.html
NeFU says that a view of the three Keystone XL routes proposed by the foreign pipeline company TransCanada including the Preferred Route under consideration by the Nebraska Public Service Commission shows that the three routes share similar geological characteristics. All three routes go through miles of sandy porous soils subject to wind erosion, leaching, and overlay water tables close to the surface, and are shortcuts through sandy soils.
“All three routes, the Sandhills Alternative Route, the Keystone Mainline Alternative Route, and the Preferred Route pose similar threats to groundwater, especially during the spring of the year when the pipes carrying the tarsands oil would be at or below the groundwater levels. When the leak occurs, it will cause immediate contamination of both the underground and surface waters because of the porous soils and high water levels. That is why it is so important to get the route right in the first place,” said John Hansen, NeFU President.
NeFU says all three proposed routes are physical shortcuts through parts of the Sandhills stemming from TransCanada’s desire to take advantage of Nebraska because the Legislature had not yet established a state siting and routing process for oil pipelines. “TransCanada asserted the Nebraska Legislature could not establish a state process for oil pipelines because siting and routing was a federal issue, notwithstanding the fact that they were already working with other states along the pipeline route that had state siting and routing processes for oil pipelines in place. That was a purposeful deception made for financial gain,” said NeFU President John Hansen who represents NeFU in the Legislature.
John Hansen asks the PSC to remember that TransCanada actively lobbied against all of the Legislature’s efforts to establish a state siting and routing process. “They undermined their own credibility in the lawmaking process when they knowingly misrepresented the legal fact that oil pipeline and siting is a state responsibility and obligation. They did so after NeFU and the Nebraska Sierra Club circulated an on point Congressional Research Service legal study that concluded that siting and routing was the responsibility of the Nebraska Legislature. They undermined their credibility with landowners when they misrepresented simple facts as to who had signed easements, the eminent domain process, and their own legal status by threatened to use the eminent domain process when they had no such authority. The way TransCanada has treated Nebraska landowners is shameful. Nebraska should not reward such inappropriate corporate behavior,” Hansen said.
NeFU urges the Nebraska Public Service Commission to reject TransCanada’s Preferred Route. The route is a foolish and unnecessary shortcut that endangers the world’s largest underground water supply, the fragile and remote Niobrara River basin, Nebraska’s agricultural economy, and the downstream water consumers. The Public Service Commission should force TransCanada to use the established, safer, more appropriate route they already have in place in eastern Nebraska.
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 3,500 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.