Nebraska Farmers Union TransCanada Pipeline
Farmers Question TransCanada Pipeline
If you’re going to talk about taking land by eminent domain, especially for an oil pipeline owned by a foreign company, you’re going to get the attention of farmers and ranchers.
John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union said, “This pipeline has set off landowners and raised a lot of issues and concerns.”
TransCanada’s keystone XL pipeline is subject to federal oversight. The Farmers Union thinks the state could take on responsibility, but is ill-equipped.
Grain and livestock producer Roy Stoltenberg of Cairo thinks the state can take certain steps to protect farmers.
“As far as landowners are taken care of, and they have emergency response team in place,” he said.
TransCanada’s spokesman defended the project before an audience with many vocal critics. He said the project will create jobs. And he says there’s little chance of a spill.
Jeff Rauh said, “In the event of a problem, pumps that move oil through the line are immediately secured and valves shut to isolate the line and limit the volume of oil that can escape the pipeline.”
He joins farmers in their concerns about a pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer, but sees benefits too.
“There’s no question we potentially are talking about jobs and economic activity. We have lots of pipelines, but the key is safety,” he said.
TransCanada says the pipeline will be monitored. And they point out other pipelines have a good safety record.
Still, this one has brought out concerns from Republicans and Democrats alike. Expect state lawmakers to consider new policies in their coming session.
Reporter’s Notes by Steve White:
Nebraska Farmers Union may push for state oversight of all pipelines, not just this one. Members said they would like a state agency to have some authority, even though it’s primarily a federally regulated industry.
John Hansen questioned the pipeline’s benefits. He said the line is simply passing through, not delivering a product to Nebraska, but rather heading to the Gulf of Mexico. He said that does little for the state, except create risk of environmental problems.