By one vote in the US Senate yesterday, the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed to pass. I don’t kid myself. Of the three ways of transporting this sludge across the Sandhills — truck, railroad, or pipeline — the pipeline is the “safest”.
The people charged with representing Nebraska’s interests in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate support the pipeline and voted for it. The current Governor of Nebraska and the Unicameral, ostensibly “nonpartisan”, but actually very Republican, support it.
The ones who don’t want it are the ones who live where this pipeline threatens to take productive pasture out of use and poses a threat of spills to damage the Ogallala Aquifer, that vast underground lake of water thickest under most of the state of Nebraska.
Western Hemisphere’s largest area of stabilized sand dunes, a great ranching country.
NIMBYU: “Not In My Backyard”. Cattle country. Proud, hard-working conservative people with an almost religious connection to the land live there. Cowboys, if you will. Ranchers. People who put three Representatives and two Senators in Congress to vote for a pipeline they can’t imagine spoiling their paradise.
For the time being, the pipeline is a pipedream, but this November Nebraskans repeated their standard practice of putting the same old people back in Congress, with one exception for the fellow representing the 2nd District. He misspoke and pissed some people off. Amazing, but that district is largely in the urban east. Four conservative Republicans and one Democrat will represent the state in the next Congress.
What about the 3rd Congressional District, the largely rural, agricultural part of the state, the part where the Sandhills are? Yes, by a wide margin– 75.39% to his opponent’s 24.61% of votes cast — Representative Adrian Smith won re-election. NIMBY. People vote by habit, not by any rational process I can discern. People don’t want the pipeline to spoil the Sandhills and the aquifer, which are the source of their income, but they put characters like Smith back in Congress.
Those bumps beyond the field of corn are the start of the Nebraska Sandhills, east of Alliance. The Ogallala Aquifer provides irrigation water that makes growing corn possible in what was once characterized as “The Great American Desert”
As much as I hate to take this attitude, because I definitely don’t support the pipeline or the transport of this sludge across the Ogallala Aquifer states, but the people of the states and places most affected by this pipeline vote scarlet red Republican: They put the people who support this travesty in the seats of power, and they and their progeny will reap the whirlwind.
I’m almost two-thirds of a century old, so will be dead soon enough. Though it is in remission, I have a disease that has the potential to kill me well before the 90+ years that both parents lived. I chose not to have children, so none of my own are threatened. As far as I’m, concerned, I can no longer respect nor be concerned about the fate of the people of the Sandhills because they largely haven’t the sense to support politicians who respect their way of life and the land on which they live and work.
Besides, any spill plumes will spread east toward Lincoln, NIMBY.