Reuters is reporting that TransCanada is unlikely to change the proposed route through Nebraska of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Nebraska officials (including Gov. Dave Heineman) are worried that the pipeline now cuts through the recharge zone for the Ogallala Aquifer and that spills could damage the primary water supply for the Great Plains. The pipeline will carry oil sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
TransCanada, the company building the 1,700 mile pipeline, met yesterday with four Nebraska state senators who were seeking a change in the route. (See the map.) “Clearly, the contamination of groundwater is the top concern,” said State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, who organized the meeting.
TransCanada officials said a change in the route was unlikely. “We understand that the best solution from your perspective is to move the route,” said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines. “We don’t believe that is an option for us. But there are things we can do together to improve the situation and add to your comfort level.”
The U.S. State Department must approve a permit for the pipeline. It is expected to make a decision by the end of this year.
Gov. Heineman has asked the State Department if the state can pass and enforce its own pipeline siting law. Reuters reports that state legislators are expected to call a special session on the issue.
• The Obama administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline this year, according to a poll of energy and environmental “insiders” conducted by the National Journal.
• The Art of the Rural site is collecting stories about “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations that are nowhere near Wall Street.
For example, the picture above is of a demonstration at the Bank of America branch in West Plains, Missouri. The Hill ‘n Holler Review reports that 25 people showed up for “Occupy West Plains.” The Review reports:
The group that gathered to represent Occupy West Plains was made of up all ages. There were senior citizens, middle-aged, men, women, and young adults. Lee Martin of West Plains said “Somebody’s protesting, I’ve got to show up.” One young man stood across the street from the protest with a sign that said “I love you!”
The Review and Art of the Rural are collecting other examples of rural “occupy” events. For instance, there was an Occupy Oregon County rally in Alton, Missouri.
• Rural broadband advocates have been meeting in Whitesburg, Kentucky, this week. We’ll have more on that meeting in the morning.
• Ronald Puckett was hunting ginseng when he slipped and fell off a 70 foot cliff in Eastern Kentucky yesterday. Puckett survived.
Yep, digging ginseng root is still a (normally) fun and profitable way to spend an afternoon. Puckett had a broken ankle. The report didn’t say how much ‘seng he’d dug.
• Rural health organizations will meet Thursday, November 17, in the first ever National Rural Health Day. This is an important time for rural health care, as budget cuts could disproportionately affect rural providers.
To learn more about the event, go here.
• Philanthropist Howard Buffett tells the World Food Prize symposium today that there is no simple way to improve world agricultural productivity. “People want to make agriculture simple,” Buffett said. “It’s not.”
Buffett is encouraging groups and governments to pay more attention to soil conditions.
• The federal government is weakening its guidelines for marketing food to children. For instance, federal officials say they won’t push the industry to get rid of cartoon characters on cereal boxes.
The food industry is still balking at these voluntary guidelines, however.
The guidelines also set maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium.
• A report from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank sees continuing high prices for commodities — and, as a result, continued high prices for land “for at least the near term.”