Ticking time bomb for Nebraska economy

19 Aug

Would you let a stranger put a bomb under your house if they promised you it would never blow up? That may seem like an odd question, but think about it. Say they promised every precaution would be taken to avoid an explosion.  Now, you’ve read that bombs tend to explode (shocking), but this stranger swears that is a rare occurrence with the bombs he’s placing under people’s houses.  Let’s say he offers you millions of dollars. Let’s say he’s already put a bomb under your neighbor’s house and, so far, it has not blown. Would you do it?

Call me crazy, but I’m guessing you’d turn him down. You probably wouldn’t think twice about it. That’s the analogy I think of when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s a ticking time bomb that could blow up our clean water supply, the Ogallala Aquifer.

You may say that this is a risk we have to take. We need oil. The pipeline will bring jobs and energy security. It probably won’t break. We’ll be fine.

I don’t know about you, but I am a cautious person. I weigh pros and cons carefully. The pipeline does not offer enough benefits for my tastes.

Let’s look at the money issue.  I will just throw some numbers at you:

  • 90: That is the percent of jobs that will go to outside contractors. That means a mere 10% will actually go to the people of Nebraska.
  • 17 billion: That is the amount, in US dollars, that agriculture contributed to Nebraska economy in 2008.   6.8% of our economy is agriculture. We get our irrigation water for agriculture from the aquifer. Imagine what would happen if our irrigation water was compromised.
  • 94: This number represents the fact that 94% of the Ogallala’s use is for irrigation.
  • 85: The percent of Nebraskans that use the Ogallala as their freshwater drinking source. You can’t really put a price on a basic necessity like drinking water.

None of those numbers take into consideration the cost of clean-up for a spill.

As for energy security, we have no guarantees this oil would even be sold to us once it makes it through the pipeline and out of the refineries. As for needing oil, I think we all realize we’re at the point where we need real, long-term solutions to America’s energy needs. Tar sands are not the solution. This pipeline is not the solution.

Let’s say no to this ticking time bomb that threatens our economy and our drinking water.



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