Wednesday, September 28, 2011

State Department Hearings for the Keystone XL Pipeline

On September 26th, the State Department began a series of hearings on the Keystone XL pipeline. Two very different views were expressed at public meetings in two states on Monday. People in Kansas criticized the Keystone XL pipeline for being environmentally destructive, while people in Texas praised the pipeline.

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said that while he supports exploring renewable energy sources like wind and solar, he also supports the Keystone XL pipeline.

Although many want clean air and water, many also want the jobs that are associated with the pipeline. However, you can't have both. Further, increasing oil supplies to the US will diminish the urgency of developing the green energy economy with all the jobs that come with it.

Other meetings are taking place this week in Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Nebraska. In conservative Nebraska there is growing concern about the pipeline's effect on the Ogallala Aquifer which provides water to much of Nebraska and seven other states. A leak from the Keystone XL pipeline would threaten the state's eco-sensitive Sand Hills and pollute the vast Ogallala Aquifer.

While there were several hundred people at the hearings in Texas and Kansas over one thousand attended Nebraska's hearing on September 27th. The state's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, and two senators - Republican Mike Johanns and Democrat Ben Nelson - have led the battle against the pipeline.

A final ruling is expected by the State Department later this year.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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