Year 2, Month 10, Day 10: Crude Cash.

The October 6 edition of the Lincoln, NE Journal-Star includes a piece on an upcoming meeting between TransCanada’s big cheeses and Nebraska government officials:

Three Nebraska lawmakers will meet Tuesday afternoon in Norfolk to discuss concerns with TransCanada officials over the route of the company’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state.

The meeting was arranged by Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk, who said Wednesday that the Legislature must move cautiously but deliberately in dealing with the pipeline issue.

The $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline proposed by TransCanada would carry oil from tar-sands deposits near Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The project has drawn fire from people who fear an oil leak would be disastrous because the pipeline would pass through Nebraska’s Sandhills region and over the massive Ogallala Aquifer, which provides irrigation and drinking water to a wide swath of the central United States.

Just because these people control billions of dollars is no reason to trust them an inch. Sent Oct. 6:

There are a great many factors Nebraska lawmakers should be considering when they meet with representatives of TransCanada, the corporation behind the Keystone XL pipeline. Some are obvious: all pipelines leak, and a proposed route that carries staggering quantities of extremely “dirty” oil over the Ogallala Aquifer is a disaster waiting to happen.

TransCanada officials won’t acknowledge that spills and leaks are inevitable, but they’ll probably offer the stringent regulations they’re imposing on pipeline operators (in Nebraska and other states along the way) as assurance that the project is extremely safe.

Lawmakers should remember that the oil industry has a long and ugly record of ignoring its own protocols, stonewalling investigations, manipulating evidence, and using its financial resources to corrupt the government agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with environmental regulations. Absent a vigorous, well-funded and incorruptible enforcement agency, TransCanada’s promises of safety aren’t worth a single drop of Ogallala water.

Warren Senders

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