Governor Heineman Calls on President to Support Keystone Pipeline

Meghan McRoberts


In a letter to President Obama,Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has asked Obama to support the TranscanadaKeystone XL Oil Pipeline, projected to travel through Nebraska down to Texas.

This comes after Heineman calledfor Obama not to support the pipeline last year, with concerns that it mighthurt the environment. The pipeline was first designed to run through thesand hills in Nebraska, and through the Ogallala aquifer.

A re-routed design takes thepipeline farther east than before, but still draws concern for many Nebraskans.

"We don't have the benefit ofresearch to prove any safety," said Ben Gotschall with Bold Nebraska, anorganization against the Pipeline.

Gotschall said the Governorreviewed an analysis of the pipeline, prepared with numbers gathered byTranscanada that may have been reflected in favor of the pipeline.

"I don't think Governor Heinemanwas able to fully evaluate the report, said Gotschall."

The Department of EnvironmentalQuality (DEQ) Report is thousands of pages long, with information regarding theeffect of the pipeline on the environment.

Gotschall says few local experts ofthe aquifer were involved in contributing to the report.

One University of Nebraska professordid his own study with Transcanada's numbers. Dr. John Stansbury says heexpected oil spills to be larger and more frequent than Transcanada projected.

"In a large degree, my study hasgone farther than the study that was done," said Stansbury. "In my opinion, thedocuments that were available were fairly inadequate and very misleading."

On the other hand, some localeconomists say the pipeline could bring thousands of jobs to Nebraska, andupwards of billions of dollars to the economy.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedomspokesperson Doug Kagan says the pipeline may also give some property taxrelief to farmers near the pipeline.

"Our nation has a splendidopportunity to become more energy independent with this pipeline," said Kagan. "Theydon't really have any hardcore evidence to prove that the pipeline is reallydangerous."

Thereis no set deadline yet as to when President Obama will make a decision