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Could the BP Spill happen in Nebraska?

Being in a landlocked state, the BP spill in the Gulf can feel a world away even as the news media covers the tragedy around the clock. 

But the tragedy in the Gulf may get a lot closer to the Midwest if TransCanada has its way. 

The oil giant wants to build a new oil pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta to refineries in the U.S. And it would go right through Nebraska. 

Imagine dirty oil seeping into the Ogallala Aquifer which provides 85% of Nebraskans and 2 million Americans with drinking water on a daily basis. Imagine a leak into the scenic Niobrara River. 

Suddenly the oil drenched gulls in the Gulf become Sandhill Cranes, and it’s farmers instead of fishermen losing their livelihood. 

TransCanada claims that they could detect a leak of 3 barrels in their pipeline. But Carrie La Seur of Plains Justice points out that pressure in the pipeline will be 50X that of air in a tire. (My tire pressure is 30 lbs per square inch, so we could be looking at 1500 lbs of pressure per square inch in the pipeline). 

It wouldn’t take long for a 3 barrel leak to begin gushing much more of the world’s dirtiest oil into delicate Nebraska habitats. 

Marty Cobenais who works with the Indigenous Environmental Network reports that there are an average of 67 leaks in oil pipelines in the U.S. each year. That’s not a comforting statistic when you have thousands of miles of oil pumping through sensitive Nebraska ecosystems. 

If the envirnomental costs aren’t high enough for you, there’s the danger to Nebraska farmers and ranchers. 

Ben Gotschall is a 4th generation rancher who’s concerned with leaks into the Sandhill Aquifer on his land near Atkinson. In dealing with Keystone, Ben says they have proposed using thinner walls and threatened to use eminent domain to build their dirty pipeline. 

It hardly seems fair for Nebraskan farmers and ranchers to be bullied out of their land and livelihood to build a pipeline for a Canadian oil company. 

BOLD Nebraska is standing up to TransCanada this Friday in La Vista. Karl Rove, former President Bush’s Chief of Staff who was instrumental in deregulating the oil industry, will be speaking at the Embassy Suites. Join us to ask “When will the spill hit home?” 

Whether or not you can attend the protest, please also sign our petition to stop TransCanada from building their dirty pipeline through Nebraska. 

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BOLD Nebraska
208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901