I participated in NDEQ public hearing in Albion, Nebraska to discuss the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. I was joined by other supporters, and well as opponents of the pipeline, many of whom were overcome by emotion. I understand why emotion is part of the KXL equation; the pipeline may be going through their property. And while emotions certainly have a place, facts are simply better to determine the national interest of the project. Hopefully, Governor Heinemann and President Obama will use the facts in their decisions.
The biggest flashpoint about KXL was pipeline safety.
At the Albion hearing, J. Paul McIntosh of Norfolk gave a firsthand account of how farmers and ranchers would put oil on dirt roads to suppress dust; roads above the Ogallala Aquifer. In a study released just after the Albion hearing, Dr. Roy Spalding, a water chemist, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln noted that parts of the aquifer have nitrate and sulfate contamination from farmers and ranchers. Spalding’s study demonstrates how a simple irrigation pivot can clean oil leaks, as they do nitrate and sulfate contaminations. It is also known that the geological nature of an aquifer purifies its contents. All of this goes to show that foreign substances have entered the aquifer and yet the aquifer remains useable.
One fact not discussed in the midst of emotion, is that two oil pipelines already exist in Nebraska, the Platte and the Jayhawk pipelines. With more than 100 years of combined operation, neither of these pipelines have leaked to date. They both run through the Ogallala Aquifer, and both feature fewer safeguards and technological advances than would KXL
Another fact is that KXL will bring economic prosperity, good-paying jobs and increased energy security for Nebraskans and US citizens.
According to a report by the Perryman Group, KXL is projected to bring more than $314 million in personal income to Nebraskans. The construction of the pipeline will also help address employment issues; KXL is projected to spur over 7,500 person-years of employment. This will come through jobs directly and indirectly related to the pipeline.
KXL also helps rural communities through the increase in property taxes, approximately $152.3 million, which will be collected from the pipeline. This influx of revenue is beneficial in filling a rainy day fund.
Throughout the United States, the Perryman Group projects $6.5 billion in personal income and approximately $5.3 billion in collected property taxes.
What comes next? The NDEQ will complete its report and submit it to Governor Heinemann. The governor will be the first gatekeeper in the final decision. If Heinemann approves the pipeline, then it will move onto the US Department of State for their final report. Finally the report will be submitted to President Obama for his decision on whether the KXL will be built or not. Americans for Prosperity urges both Governor Heinemann and President Obama to approve the KXL.
AFP understands his issue is extremely personal to some and distant to others, but it will affect everyone. The benefits of KXL are clear. AFP stands with the majority of Nebraskans and supports the Keystone XL pipeline being built.