Breaking: Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Despite Oil Spill in South Dakota

We’re following the breaking story out of North Dakota several days ago. In case you missed it, the Keystone Pipeline leaked a massive amount of oil in North Dakota. The cause of the leak is still unknown. So what happened? Did the ground shift? Is the terrain too rugged? Let’s take a look at the scene:

The spill from the Keystone pipeline in northern South Dakota is shown in this image provided by TransCanada

Ok, it’s grassy flat land, and the pipeline was buried underground, but it still leaked. Wow, these pipelines seem really safe, am I right? 

The media initially reported about 200,000 gallons of oil were spilled. TransCanada, the company that operates the pipeline, came out with a statement saying that the spill was controlled, and that it posed no threat to the public. What have we learned in the past couple days? 

Keystone pipeline oil spill could be worse than thought – Vice news

It turns out the spill could be much larger than was first reported, and some nearby land owners suspect the spill could be as much as 600,000 gallons. On top of that, it turns out that TransCanada didn’t even report the leak to officials until 5 hours after it was discovered. So they waited 5 hours to report it, then misled everyone about the size of the spill. Shocker. A pipeline company trying to mislead the public, imagine that.

If you’ve been following the news about the Keystone pipeline, you already know that it was built in 2010 and that TransCanada wants to build an additional connecting pipeline, the Keystone XL. Here’s a map of the current pipeline and the proposed Keystone XL:

As you can see, the Keystone XL would cross several states including Nebraska. Regulators in Nebraska just decided today to approve the addition to the controversial pipeline, although the approval was for an alternate route, not the route that was preferred by Trans Canada. Despite the fact that South Dakota just suffered a major oil spill, The Nebraska Public Service Commission decided with a 3 to 2 vote in favor of approving the project. Here is a map of the approved route:

A Nebraska law approved in 2011 prevented the commissioners from factoring pipeline safety or the possibility of leaks into their decisions. At the time, lawmakers argued  that pipeline safety was a federal responsibility that pre-empts state law. Opponents claim that oil companies lobbied for the restriction. 

Keep in mind that the commission’s announcement is not the last word on Keystone: Not only is the decision subject to legal appeals, but federal officials still have to issue permits for the project, and green groups have been suing to appeal previous approval decisions at both the federal and state levels.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, it’s expected that cleanup crews will be working to clean up this latest oil spill for at least a year. Let this be a wake up call, people. Oil is dirty, and the tar sands oil from Canada is some of the dirtiest oil in the world. We don’t need it. What we need is to transition to natural sources of raw materials for clean-burning fuel. If only there were some way to produce fuel from plant-based raw materials… Oh wait, it’s entirely possible to use plant-based fuels. Henry Ford did it in the 1930s and 40s, but then Big Oil stepped in and lobbied Congress to outlaw industrial hemp farms, the best source of plant-based fuel. Here we are 80 years later, dependent on fossil fuels.

The solution is to lift that restriction on hemp and let the American farmers grow enough biomass to produce a biofuel that burns 90% cleaner than petroleum fuel. We need to all get involved, folks. Contact all of your politicians, from local and state, all the way up to your representatives in DC. Tell them to lift the ban on hemp farming in America. There’s already a petition at the White House awaiting President Trump’s approval. Feel free to tweet this link to the petition to your favorite politicians. You can also contact your representatives in DC. Let them know that you support hemp farms for clean fuel.

So, what do you think about the pipeline controversy? Leave your comment below. Don’t forget to follow Green Wars on social media and subscribe on YouTube, and remember, we all live downstream.


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