It’s not very often that I speak up about things, but over the last few months, I’ve become more aware of the current hot-topic in Nebraska: whether or not Transcanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline should be built through our state, or if the current planned route should be shifted away from the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer. If you’ve never heard of either, the Sandhills are a mixture of prairie and sand dunes located in north central Nebraska. As an ecosystem, it's surprisingly difficult to reclaim.
The Ogallala Aquifer is basically a large shallow underground lake - one of the largest in the world. For people in Nebraska and many other states, it is an invaluable resource of water.
The problem? TransCanada is currently seeking approval from the U.S. State Department to build a pipeline through the U.S., towards a Texas refinery. Many people have concerns, however, of potential contamination to the aquifer if a leak from the proposed pipeline were ever to occur. The Keystone 1 Pipeline has already experienced spills within the first year of operation.
While the U.S. State Department has the finally say in allowing the pipeline to be built, individual states retain the right to regulate where the pipeline is built. While Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has voiced his disapproval of the pipeline, he has not called a special session of the Nebraska Legislature (unicameral) to address the issue. Currently, a few state senators are trying to get enough votes to convene in a special session, but to do that, they need 33 of the 49 senators to approve a special session. See the article below for more details:
If you live in Nebraska and want the legislature to address the issue, contact your state senator!
Apologies for quite possibly the longest post ever.