Sunday, December 9, 2012

Albion, Nebraska

On December 4, 2012, hundreds of Nebraskans gathered in the small town of Albion to comment on an environmental assessment of TransCanada's proposed reroute of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

A little background:
  • TransCanada, the company that will build the Keystone XL, determined to place the pipeline through the fragile Sand Hills of Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies much of the state with drinking and irrigation water.
  • Nebraskans raised hell and demanded that the pipeline be moved out of sensitive areas or that it not be built at all.
  • TransCanada (also referred to as "Keystone") suggested a new route on April 18, 2012. The public provided comments, and on September 5, 2012 TransCanada refined their route. The new route (arguably) dodges the Sand Hills, but still goes through the Ogallala aquifer.
  • On December 4, 2012, the public would have one last chance to comment on the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality's (NDEQ) environmental assessment of TransCanada's proposed reroute. Their comments will be considered by the NDEQ. After those comments are considered, the NDEQ will issue the report to Nebraska Governor Heineman, who gets the final say.
Hundreds were in attendance. There were ranchers, farmers, and landowners. Most of them were concerned about their water, and some were concerned about climate change. There were many in attendance in favor of the pipeline as well. There were large groups represented, like unions and Americans for Prosperity. They said we needed the national security, energy, and jobs.


This was a meeting of farmers before the hearing, held by a group of farmers organized under the name "BOLD Nebraska."

A kind woman brought me water from the aquifer, which her family drinks, untreated. I filled up my water bottles with the water.

Through Facebook and local newspapers, word had spread about my little trip. When I walked in the lobby of the Boone County Fairgrounds--where the hearing was being held--someone called out, "It's the walker!" I was swarmed, and women stuffed $70 in my pants. The pictures below were taken by photographer Adrian Olivera. (


P.Sparks said...

I've followed your blog for over a year and haven't commented yet but I felt compelled to congratulate you on your accomplishments when I read the "It's the walker!"-part. You've come far and I have no doubt that you'll go much, much further in getting your voice heard. I spend alot of time analyzing who I am and where the world is at without acting on my ambitions. But you acting on things you felt like doing even if they are hard reminds me of what I should do about own ambitions that are not easily accomplished.

All the best from Sweden!

martin said...

Heartwarming to see you get some well-deserved recognition for your exploits.

Spork said...

Women stuffing money in your pants!? I need to get out and start walking more often...

Really proud of you Ken!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Ken..'the walker'.. We have land here in MI and its water supply is spring fed.. I understand how they feel as out land has been in the family for over 120 years. The gas companies are out here in full swing and Dad stands firm NO.. A pipeline just ran thru a 1/4 mile away up the road.. This is scary stuff.. Water contamination will be game over..I get it.. I predict there will be wars over water in the future not oil as it is now.. What have we done?? How can we fix it? The future of this planet is ours to protect as we do our land here in MI.. It will be our legacy.. Can we pass the test?

Anonymous said...

According to the authors of the 1972 book "Limits to Growth" which sparked the environmental movement, there will be die off of billions starting in and around 2050 - 2070.

Club of Rome, Rotterdam, May 7th, 2012

Thom Hartmann's conversation with Michael T. Klare, Author of fourteen books, including his latest "The Race for What's Left".

We've been on this planet for 160,000 years. It's been 10,000 years since the agricultural revolution. It's only been since 1865 when Colonel Drake drilled the first commercial oil well in Titusville, PA and we've been using oil in a big way. And in that 160 years or so, our planet's population hit its first billion in 1800. We hit 2 billion in 1930. And now well into the age of oil we're pushing 7 billion. Would it be fair to say that the planet without oil, without our using ancient sunlight to run our machines and move our produce around, that could really only feed a billion people or fewer. Is that an accurate analysis in your mind?

I think in general principle that's accurate. I don't want to be specific about numbers, how much the planet can support without oil, because with solar power and wind power we could probably replace oil for many purposes. But the basic premise is accurate. It's only with oil we've been able to increase the world population to where it is today. People don't appreciate how much food production today is dependent on cheap oil.


MDS: To bring it all home, this Thanksgiving serve dinner at 5:00PM, then invite all the people who were born after 1985 to dinner at 6:30PM. Chuckle and tell them what a great dinner it was and how the republican capitalist freedom system really works. Chortle and tell them if they missed out on the feast it's because they're not close enough to the Lord.


And the reason nothing will be done:

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

Let me ask you, at 5 minutes before twelve, and the bottle's only 3% full and there's 97% open space just yearning for development... how many of you would realize there was a problem?

Michael said...

Great job! Was there any major media coverage of this? It looks like you're the only one covering this.

Chef Ted said...

Hey Ken, I recently stumbled upon your blog after reading your post about Roger the plumber's coke can on Glen's blog. Too funny.I am catching up and today I am reading about you washing dishes in Coldfoot. Please find enclosed a short blog about my similar experiences as a cook in a desolate mining camp in Australia some 30 years ago. I now look back on that isolation as some of my finest travel memories. Great writing and I look forward to your journey, Ted!/2012/09/finucane-island-1982-western-australia.html

dissed said...

Ah, this made me smile. Validation!

Be careful. Above all, be careful.

Unknown said...

Hi Ken
wow you are on a mission.

Good luck
Osama Doug

Deyjarus said...

Read your Salon article about the trip and your visit here.

Loved it. One of the best articles I've read about the Keystone XL.

Thank you for your trek, and getting the word out and exploring the places this pipeline would impact.