I grew up in Nebraska on a farm. I used to love to play outside. I had a playhouse in our garage. A swing set in our yard and a huge barn where I spent many hours playing with the farm felines.
I also had to do chores because I was a farm girl. I remember hating to have to fill up the water tank for the cows in the pasture because I would always get shocked by our electric fence. I also didn’t like having to help my dad and brother haul out irrigation pipe during the summer time.
My favorite activity was riding bike into town to go to the swimming pool with my close friend. Then stopping by the dairy queen for an ice cream cone before riding the two miles back home again.
I remember the well we had on the farm and being so hot in summertime I would drink from the faucet that was attached to our well.
A lot of the activities I enjoyed and detested as a young girl involved one substance and that substance was water.
I didn’t know at that time that the water I drank from that well faucet was tapping into the Ogallala aquifer.
This is one of the world’s largest aquifers and covers the expanse of eight different states.
This aquifer supplies drinking water to 82% of the 2.3 million people that live in this region. This liquid gold also irrigates a large amount of farmland.
Due to the irrigation system that farmers employ it is decreasing by 11% since 1950. If the aquifer runs empty it will take close to 100,000 years to replenish naturally through rainfall.
The Keystone pipeline is proposed to cross this aquifer. Some people in Nebraska think that this pipeline may endanger their livelihood.
I would dare say I could bet on that.
The aquifer is made up of sandy soil and is considered spongelike.
Some experts say that because of the gradient of the Ogallala aquifer that if it spills in the sand hills it would be a localized spill.
TransCanada says that they would shut the pipeline down immediately if there was a spill. (This is from a company who has already had 14 spills. So they should know how to handle a spill because Golly Gee, they sure have had enough)
Problem is this is water we are talking about, when you drop a substance into water it doesn’t stay in one place, it dissipates.
Then there is the whole problem of Bitumen. Bitumen sinks, it does not float, but before it sinks it may spread throughout the aquifer. Along with the bitumen you have the toxic chemicals that are needed to dilute the bitumen to transform it into dilbit, which include Benzene and natural gas.
And there is the apect of heat too. This substance is hot because it needs to be for transport and I would surmise that that may entice the dilbit to spread quicker.
One thing that the experts who are in favor of Keystone fail to mention is pressure. This dilbit will be under 1400 psi which is an extremely high pressure according to Greg Awtry of the York News Times. A pin hole in the pipeline can spray the dilbit as far as a football field.
Okay so lets say you have a leak in the aquifer because if TransCanada is good at anything it is leaking. They say that they will shut down the pipeline within minutes. By that time the bitumen has sprayed the length of a football field taking with it Benzene which causes birth defects and cancer. The bitumen is sinking into the sandy soil of the aquifer and this is all underground.
Well, how can you clean that mess up?
Frankly it would be impossible. Anyone who says it won’t happen does not have their head screwed on right.
These farmers in Nebraska are intelligent, hardworking people. In fact they are such an intelligent and influential group they persuaded Ed Schultz to become an opponent of the Keystone Pipeline when he had been a staunch proponent. I wish I could say the same for the politicians we have in Washington DC.
To see the conversion of Ed Schultz from a proponent to an opponent click on the link below.