Friday, April 19, 2013

Keystone XL fight is about more than a pipeline

Protesters flooded a public meeting Thursday in Nebraska to keep the controversial Keystone XL tar-sands oil pipeline from being constructed across the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital source of water under most of the Great Plains. The TransCanada pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels daily through 274 miles of Nebraska. In 2010, Nebraskans fought the same fight, and Gov. Dave Heineman relented, but has since proposed a new route that he says is safer, but that opponents say still "threatens to contaminate the water that supports life, livestock and livelihoods," Joe Duggan reports for the Omaha World Herald. (AP photo by Nati Harnik)

David Unger writes for The Christian Science Monitor, "If the passionate, opposing sides agree on anything, it's that the debate is about more than just a pipeline. Keystone XL rests squarely at the intersection of energy security, environmental stewardship, and economic growth, making it a useful proxy for a broader argument over the role of energy and environment in America's future. . .. Reports from the area suggest that Nebraskans are as divided on Keystone as is the rest of the country."

Unger cites a New York Times piece by Mary Pipher, a Nebraska psychologist who writes, "Farmers, ranchers, urbanites, Republicans and Democrats, students and senior citizens as well as native peoples continue to oppose this pipeline. In part, our unity came from our shared history and geography. Many of us are the relatives of homesteaders and modern farmers and ranchers. Whatever our politics, we all believe in the sanctity of home. In the Beef State, we understand the importance of water, especially today, when every county in Nebraska suffers drought conditions."

Pipher concludes, "The great global skirmishes of this century will be fought over food, energy, water and dirt. Our remote, conservative, flyover state seems like an odd place to make a stand for clean water and fertile land, but we will be at the heart of those battles. We are fighting not only for ourselves but for people all over the world. And we know that everywhere, in their particular places, people are fighting for us. The campaign to stop the Keystone XL is not over. It won’t be over until we give up, and we aren’t giving up." (Read more)

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